President Obama signed the Telework Enhancement Act in December 2010. The legislation was designed to improve teleworking opportunities and adoption rates at federal government agencies. On Friday, July 6, 2012, the first status report since the Act’s passing was delivered to Congress.
The 2012 Status of Telework in the Federal Government (PDF) features teleworking highlights from the past 18 months as well as goals for improving teleworking in the future.
Report findings include:
- All 87 agencies participating in the Data Call had established telework policies and 73 percent of the policies met the Telework Act requirements
- More than 684,000 federal employees were deemed eligible to telework, this represents approximately 32 percent of all federal employees
- More than 144,000 federal employees had written teleworking agreements with their agency
- 166,348 employees have received some sort of teleworking training
- 168,558 federal employees were teleworking in September 2011
- 27 percent of teleworkers worked remotely three or more days per week
In addition to the overall findings, the report also includes specific teleworking statistics within the various federal agencies. For example, 70 percent of employees with the Appraisal Subcommittee, Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council telework. The agency only has 10 employees, though, so achieving a high teleworking percentage is much easier than it would be for a larger agency.
Jumping down the employment numbers spectrum, let’s examine teleworking at the Department of Defense. According to the report, there are more than 793,000 employees in the DoD and of those employees, 134,477 were deemed eligible for teleworking. In September 2011, 36,855 of these employees were actually teleworking at least part time, which is 27 percent of the eligible workforce.
What I found most interesting about the report was that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) doesn’t have figures in the total number of employees or eligible employees section. Despite the lack of data in these two categories, the CIA did report that 63 employees have a teleworking agreement and in September 2011 15 employees teleworked. The secretive nature of the CIA may be the reason for the omissions but it is still nice to see that there are teleworking opportunities within an organization like the CIA.
Overall, the federal government seems to have embraced teleworking and is attempting to create more remote working opportunities for employees. In closing, the report listed several ways that the government could make more jobs available through telework. Suggestions include using telework as a tool to retain employees at or near retirement age and using telework to expand hiring of highly trained disabled veterans.