Feds Lead Telework Growth in D.C. Region

Thirty-eight percent of federal employees work from home at least occasionally.

The federal government is responsible for nearly all of the growth in telework in the Washington region over the past three years and continues to post more significant gains on telework than the private, nonprofit, and state and local government sectors, according to new research.

The recent “State of the Commute” study by Commuter Connections, a program of the Transportation Planning Board, found that 27 percent of the national capital region’s workforce reported working from home or working remotely “at least occasionally.” That’s slightly higher than 2010, when 25 percent of respondents reported teleworking occasionally. Only 11 percent of commuters reported teleworking in 2001, the first time Commuter Connections conducted the study.

More specifically, the 2013 survey found that 38 percent of federal workers telework at least occasionally, up from 27 percent in 2010 and just 16 percent in 2007.

That’s significantly higher than the private sector, where just 25 percent of workers reported teleworking this year, a decrease from 28 percent in 2010. Just 13 percent of state and local government workers in the 2013 survey said they telework at least occasionally.

The study credited the 2010 Telework Enhancement Act for much of the federal government’s growth in telework, and touted the benefits seen thus far in the Washington region, including reduced traffic congestion, real estate savings and continuity of operations during inclement weather.

“Continued growth in teleworking will reduce demand on our crowded roads and transit system,” the study states, “and provide numerous other benefits for both employers and employees.”