OPM calls on agencies to submit telework stats

The Office of Personnel Management is making its annual call for federal agencies to submit their telework data online, in an effort to gauge progress on telework programs.

In a letter Monday to agency human resources directors, Angela Bailey, associate director of employee services at OPM, asked agency telework managing officers and coordinators to submit their data on a Web-based form by Dec. 7.

“Telework is an important flexibility useful to achieving agency human capital objectives, including retention and performance,” Bailey wrote. “OPM is committed to supporting telework and assisting agencies to meet their goals.”

One of the greatest challenges for federal telework programs going forward is the ability of agencies to accurately measure success. OPM announced in July that it would automate the way it collects and provides statistics on telework in an effort to make the process easier for agencies. OPM is not expected to fully implement the automated system until 2014.  

Bailey said the questions on this year’s telework data call reflect the importance of goal-setting, a requirement laid out in the 2010 Telework Enhancement Act. OPM will use data received in response to this request and statistics from other sources, such as the annual Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, to compile its 2013 telework status report to Congress.

Last month, Cindy Auten, general manager for Telework Exchange, said measuring the success of agency telework programs is going to be a major topic going into the new year. As a result, Telework Exchange is developing a calculator that will help agencies assess the value of their telework programs.

“Next year, we’ll be helping agencies measure their return on investment,” Auten said. “This includes how telework is impacting utility costs, real estate, productivity, and recruitment and retention, and it’s a tool agencies can use to actually put a number with telework and [know] the value of it in their agency.”