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OPM Finds Lots More Teleworkers

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By Allan Holmes May 27, 2010

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The Office of Personnel Management conducted a survey of federal workers on telework habits and has begun to munch the numbers. While the survey findings haven't been released, Justin Johnson, deputy chief of staff at OPM, gave a sneak peek at some of the results during a panel discussion on telework on Thursday.

For the first time, Johnson said OPM asked federal employees directly about their telework experiences, unlike past annual reports that asked top-level agency managers to report telework statistics. What OPM found was that 10 percent of employees said they telework at least one day a week. That translates to 200,000 feds. That's "good news," Johnson said, because it means more federal workers are teleworking than OPM previously thought.

The 200,000 number compares with the 65,000 workers OPM said in 2009 teleworked once a week, according to a past survey in which OPM only asked managers to report telework numbers in their agencies. "There's a broad gap between what's happening and what's being reported," Johnson said during a panel discussion about telework at the Gov 2.0 Expo in Washington.

Johnson also said OPM found that 48 percent of employees don't telework because either their job duties require them to be in an office (say, a security guard) or they simply prefer not to telework. "So, 48 percent take themselves right off the table" to be considered for telework, he said.

Another 31 percent of employees said they would like to telework but are not allowed to do so because they do not have the technology (7 percent) or their managers do not allow it (23 percent). "That's a lot of room of growth," Johnson said.

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