Federal Telework Use and Satisfaction Are Rising


Nearly 80 percent of feds say they are happy with their agency's remote work program.

While federal employees are registering lower levels of satisfaction with their jobs, pay and organization than just two years ago, due in large part to pay freezes and budget cuts, there is at least one area where satisfaction is on the rise: telework.

The 2013 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, released Friday by the Office of Personnel Management, found that 79 percent of the 376,577 feds surveyed are satisfied with the telework program at their agency, an increase of nearly 3 percent over the 2012 survey.

The number of employees who are eligible to telework also has increased since 2012, likely a result of the requirements of the 2010 Telework Enhancement Act. More than half (56 percent) of employees surveyed said they have been notified that they are eligible to telework, with 42 percent doing so at least on an unscheduled or short-term basis. Twenty-one percent of feds said they telework at least one or two days per week.

It may be difficult for telework satisfaction levels to make up for other areas where satisfaction among feds declined, however. Federal job satisfaction, for example, declined 3.1 percent over 2012 levels, to 64.9 percent, while satisfaction with pay declined 5.3 percent, to 54.5 percent. Satisfaction in eight areas surveyed -- from promotions and training to recognition for doing a good job -- all have declined over the past two years, OPM found.

A three-year pay freeze, automatic reductions from the sequester that included furloughs and reductions in training are clearly having an impact on federal employees, OPM Director Katherine Archuleta wrote in an introduction to the report.

“The survey results serve as an important warning about the long-term consequences of the sequestration and budget uncertainty,” Archuleta wrote. “Without a more predictable and responsible budget situation, we risk losing our most talented employees, as well as hurting our ability to recruit top talent for the future.”  

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