In 2010, Congress passed the Telework Enhancement Act, which was designed to increase the adoption and implementation of telework policies across the federal government and its agencies.
By increasing telework adoption, the government was hoping to slash budgets, increase employee productivity and also enable continuity of operations (COOP) when natural disasters and other incidents kept federal employees from making it to their offices.
To ensure that telework benchmarks were being met, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has been collecting and analyzing telework statistics across the government. The agency released its first report detailing the state of telework in the federal government earlier this month, and the numbers are promising.
According to OPM, 21 percent of eligible federal employees are teleworking. That number is up significantly from before the Telework Enhancement Act was passed, when the percentage of teleworking federal employees was just 10 percent.
Although that’s an impressive 11 percent jump in just two short years, it’s still less than a quarter of the eligible federal workforce teleworking. That’s a small percentage of the entire federal workforce, considering the benefits that telework can deliver, such as: decreasing the need for costly real estate, slashing agency utility costs, increasing productivity, reducing commutes, enabling recruiting, improving retention and increasing job satisfaction among employees.
So just what is keeping eligible federal workers from working from home? Unfortunately, key stakeholders, such as managers, continue to hamper further utilization of telework policies.