Federal Telework Survey Comments

Two surveys were administered using SurveyMonkey, one for U.S. Government executive agency workplace leaders including Telework Coordinators, and one for Federal real estate leaders. Generally, the questionswere the same, but in a slightly different order, and are labeled as RE plus thereal estate question number.

Most questions were multiplechoice. Choices were derived from obstacles and opportunities suggested in The Federal Viewpoint Survey, the annual Office of Personnel ManagementTelework Reports to Congress, and OPM’s report: Expanding Federal Telework: Overcoming the Barriers.

Responses to narrative questions, and write-in responses on multiple-choice questions, are provided below.

1.What is your US civil service pay scale level (GS rating)? (RE-Q2) (MC)

2.In what state do you workthe majority of the time? (RE-Q3) (MC)

3. How often do you work athome (not including taking work home in the evening and working on weekends)? (RE-Q4) (MC)
Never / 1-4 days a month / 1 daya week / 2 days a week / 3 days a week / 4 days a week / Always / Variable

4.What agency / sub-agencydo you work for? (RE-Q1)

5.How do you feel about telework in general? (MC)
Against it / Skeptical / Generally Supportive / All for it

6.Overall, how would you rate your agency’s telework program? (MC) (RE-Q7)
Verypoor / Poor / Neutral / Good / Very good

We have made good improvements in our telework program since passage of the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010, but we still have a long way to go. Self-disclosure here—I’m the Telework Program Manager for my sub-agency.

Realistically, I can only state my opinion on how my area implements and supports the agency’s telework program.

Always interested in the accountability aspect. Need good training for both supervisor and employee to have it work well. If it was so great, wouldn’t the private sector be embracing it like govt is?

I feel [agency] is very progressive with telework but really looks at it as mobile work — meaning one can work in any environment that is conducive to productive work as long as one has the connectivity.

There is no agency regulation as to the degree to which an employee can telework. As such, it is based on favoritism.

Although there is great management support, and lots of people are allowed to telework, and do telework, there is little to no accountability for any work accomplished. There is “blind trust” that work is getting done. But in my personal experience, as well as observation and interaction with others, I don’t think the same amount or quality of work gets accomplished. And people being out of the office so much, and so dependent on email, or lousy conf call connections makes for non-effective collaboration.

The program is in place the agency leadership has gone to great lengths to make it successful. I feel local Managers are not always for it and are not so supportive or make up their own rules for allowing someone to telework that are not always within agency approved guidelines.

Not all managers are supportive nor do they allow their staff to telework. The policy is inconsistent in it’s implementation.

There needs to be accountability for the employee and manager. Some kind of expectations need to be set whether that’s as a whole organization and / or on an individual level.

The program is getting better. At the beginning every time there was a brief 10 minute staff meeting, teleworkers had to go into the office for a face-to-face. Now they sometimes make an effort to provide a webinar or phone number for people working out of the office to join the meeting (however, they often make a point of saying that there are not enough phone lines for everyone not working in the office to join the meeting).

My concern is as leaders we are not a mature in how managing employees by performance outcomes. Therefore, I get skeptical on the level of productivity on WAH days. Mondays and Fridays seem awfully quiet in this agency (typical WAH days).

Should provide more support for home-based work such as an allocation for supplies such as docking stations, internet access costs, office supplies, printer ink, etc. The Government is reaping the financial benefits of offering employees less space while expecting employees to provide their own supplies.

needs more performance discipline, however

technology does not keep up with the work as well as it could. I have been virtual to DC for 4 years, and telework from home at least 2 days a week – while the tools are getting better, it can still be a challenge.

My agency is almost 100% virtual! Every employee has been issued a laptop and is considered telework ready!

still too many people not considered eligible or not supported by mgrs to telework

we are reaching the tipping point. It is much harder for managers. They need to learn to manage by results rather than sight


Our agency policy was updated in 2008 and again in 2011, and is in review for potential update now, to keep current and make appropriate improvements.

It is a tale of two cities… those who like it and those who do not. But those (managers) who like it do apply common sense regarding getting the work done in an appropriate manner. Too many times, employees butt heads with those who do not know how to manage in a decentralized environment.

However, it’s the #1 ELR problem … partially because several senior managers have not been supportive. What keeps the program a float and growing is the TEA and the extensive guidance that [has been issued]

Lack of leadership active support.

[Person’s name] is doing an outstanding job promoting Telework

With [Agency] as decentralized as it is, organizationally and culturally, the program works very well in some bureaus, not so well in others. Overall, a lot of progress in two years in many aspects.

Need to expand from 1 day per week to 2.

[Agency] is rolling out many options beside telework, such as: hoteling, office sharing (two people work in the same office at the same time, desk sharing (people share an office on alternative set days) and hoteling (no permanent office assigned.

There are managers who need persuading that their employees will be effective while teleworking and that the managers will have enough control. This is an ongoing issue we are hoping to resolve through training and anecdotal experience of those managers who have embraced teleworking.

There are pockets of support, I think my office supports it but I don’t particularly care to participate with any frequency.

The agency’s policy itself is very robust. For example, it supports leveraging telework to the fullest extend possible. It does not require an employee to submit a telework schedule, but rather it allows employees to collaborate with their manager and teammates to determine when best to telework. This flexibility is key. Some weeks, for example, the workload may allow for 35 hours of telework, with the need to only come into the office for a few hours throughout the week for meetings. Other weeks, however, may require the opposite with a majority of the time needing to be in the office. The key is the policy allows the work to drive the schedule not an employees contractual telework schedule drive their work. I’d say the agency’s telework program was “very good,” except for the fact that adoption of the policy is still in process.

Based upon data the majority of the agency is signed up for 1 day/week to telework, but it does not appear to be happening. The majority of management does not support it so they will not embrace it and let it really work as it could.

We have lots of telework support but little support for the behaviors that should be derived from the privilege of teleworking like changes in office environment, personal real estate, adaption of mobile space and shared resources.

Prior to the forced moves, management put off discussing telework arrangements for months.

Metrics that define work enough to ensure teleworkers are performing are not in place in all cases.

There are contradictions between OPM and each federal agency’s unique policies. Examples include when the Official Duty Station (ODS) is closed due to weather and whether individuals must take leave or telework. Example: Two individuals in the same office, one approved to telework and the other does not wish to telework. If ODS is closed due to emergency or weather, the telework employee must work or take leave, the non-telework-er is excused. If the Alternative Duty Station losses power due to the same storm that closed the ODS, the telework employee must take leave. The non-telework employee is excused.

Very few managers will allow it, and the majority of managers will not even consider it. Its hard for them to grant AWS.

Several good things. Still need to unify the effort.

RE-Q6. At your agency, is telework driving real estate changes or isreal estate driving telework adoption? (MC)
Telework drives real estate / Real estate drives telework

Not really related to real estate. I have a space policy that outlines once someone teleworks so many days per week they go to a shared office, but people and management are not honest so they don’t lose what they have for space.

more like musical chairs than thoughtful policy

Both are driving each other but mobility is really the issue. Telework is being tied to work at home. Right or wrong thats where it evolved from and we need to separate it, rename it or explain any new terms. I prefer to have mobile work. Telework is much different than mobility.

Senior management has bought into the concept. Operational staff are cautiously moving forward.

Space is a serious issue, with make-shift offices being thrown together and forcing telework because of inadequate, crammed, and substandard “temporarily” space. Some individuals have moved 4 or more times (across town and back) in the past year, with two more moves scheduled in the next few months. Communications regarding the moves are also woefully inadequate.

We are piloting new workplace initiatives and telework opportunities at our headquarters

Not yet. Everyone still has their full work station in an office and may telework.

Not sure if drive is the right word. I believe telework supports some of the real estate changes required to meet budget cuts.

Real estate and telework are loosely related, but not directly in my agency. Telework is still seen as a quality of life opportunity not as a cost or real estate reduction driver

My agency is living in the past – leadership continues to deny the fact that we must find ways to more efficiently use the space. 500 square foot offices are not uncommon at our HQ. Almost everyone has an individual office space. Little to no sharing of space or resources.

Real estate should follow work requirements. Telework, or more appropriately mobile work, influences the type and amount of space needed to meet mission needs. However, in the current budget environment, and with real estate being the second largest cost of doing business (behind salaries), everyone is pushing space issues first without fully realizing the change-management challenge. We are working to educate all on the endeavor.

Based upon data the majority of the agency is signed up for 1 day/week to telework, but it does not appear to be happening. The majority of management does not support it so they will not embrace it and let it really work as it could.

We have lots of telework support but little support for the behaviors that should be derived from the privilege of teleworking like changes in office environment, personal real estate, adaption of mobile space and shared resources.

Prior to the forced moves, management put off discussing telework arrangements for months.

Metrics that define work enough to ensure teleworkers are performing are not in place in all cases.

There are contradictions between OPM and each federal agency’s unique policies. Examples include when the Official Duty Station (ODS) is closed due to weather and whether individuals must take leave or telework. Example: Two individuals in the same office, one approved to telework and the other does not wish to telework. If ODS is closed due to emergency or weather, the telework employee must work or take leave, the non-telework-er is excused. If the Alternative Duty Station losses power due to the same storm that closed the ODS, the telework employee must take leave. The non-telework employee is excused.

Very few managers will allow it, and the majority of managers will not even consider it. Its hard for them to grant AWS.

Several good things. Still need to unify the effort.

7.What level of support isthere for telework from your manager, your agency, SES, and the Administration?(RE-Q8) (MC)
Verypoor / Poor / Neutral / Good / Very good (Note:only the RE survey included an option for SES)

As you might guess from my responses, the support is blocked at the sub-agency head level because support is quite ambivalent.

would like to see a bigger push and more direction from upper management.

My manager–or direct supervisor–is a strong supporter of telework, HOWEVER, my division director does not support telework and has imposed very strict limits on its practice in our division.

I do not know enough about the Administration’s policies and actions to have an informed opinion on its level of support.”

there is very strong support for telework although I think the employee now views it as a right. they aren’t as willing to commute in on a “telework” day if they have to be a meeting because “it takes so long to get in” — as though it is the agency’s problem or fault because they chose to live way out from their workplace. but the environment that has been created, is one that I question why anyone has to ever come in when you have supervisors and managers who are virtual and with all the technology there really doesn’t seem to be a need. the “social aspect” to work is pretty much gone. you really don’t matter as a person any longer, just an employee who produces no matter where you are. this is why is makes no sense to even come in anymore. you are just at work to produce. we talk about “collaboration” in an open environment and that’s why one needs to come into the office but not every position requires collaboration or is required for every task.

[Agency] is supportive on telework … however, I do not believe that all areas are on the same page with regard to telework policy and regulation of the policy.

Although telework is promoted nationally as an agency goal, area leadership / management unfortunately struggles with the perceived “lack of control” over employees’ schedules.

Great support for it….just no grass-roots accountability or management of it. I just recently had [healthcare issue… never would have managed to keep up with my workload if I had not been able to telework. However, never once have I been asked what I accomplished when I teleworked, or been asked to submit my work products.

Again pockets of mangers not supporting it

There is a vast gap between “neutral” and “strong” The survey design seems thus to be biased.

Overall telework / mobility is supported very well at [agency], however we still have the “must be seen” mentality among lower level managers who appear to “talk” the telework talk, but aren’t completely comfortable walking the walk.

As previously stated above, the policy is inconsistent. Not all managers are supportive nor do they allow their staff to telework. The policy is inconsistent in it’s implementation.

I think in Washington DC the agency and administration supports telework more than in my area although it is slowly getting a little better. The supervisor right above mine supports telework and trusts his employees very strongly but he was shut down by his supervisor when he wanted to allow his employees to full-time telework if they desired (all of our duties are electronic, we don’t deal with sensitive paperwork, and we do not deal with the public).

Same as #6. My concern is as leaders we are not a mature agency in how managing employees by performance outcomes. Therefore, I get skeptical on the level of productivity on WAH days. Mondays and Fridays seem awfully quiet in this agency (typical WAH days).

There should be more management support for line managers who have employees who are not suited to telework. While many people thrive on telework, some perform poorly and government oversight / management of poor performers is very weak, and line managers have little management support to manage poor performers out. Too often Federal employment is taken as permission to produce little.

[Agency] seems to be curtailing virtual assignments, which curtails the talent pool available for headquarter positions

You forgot the second level management. second level SES’s are least supportive – those who report to the Administrator. The administrator sees it as BAU and the aggregate numbers show we are doing well but it is begrudging compliance from an influential few.

The OPM Worklife group needs to keep the Interagency Work Gorup active and finish resolving the outstanding issues so that they will update their guidance.

Now that OPM Director John Berry left, not sure about administration support.

We still have individual managers that want to deny it or impose obstacles for its use.

Previous Secretary was not supportive of telework and as a result, it has not been possible to obtain Secretary level (or senior political level) active and visible support.

Too much favoritism and misinterpretation of the policy; most leaders don’t follow the policy and once in trouble, want you to bail them out.

My manager, since we work in the mobility field, is very supportive and “gets it.” However, ingeneral, I think telework scares most managers because they don’t know how to manage a distributed team. Many managers will admit that the trust isn’t there and they know their employees already don’t produce, so holding them accountable outside the office, would be impossible. I think most managers would rather build out policies and rules for low performers and nudge / wink for high performers rather than developing policies that would be expected in a high performing organization.

As for the agency, it has been seen to be directly attributed to the agency leadership, and there has been a real difference depending upon who the leader is at the time. Overall, it has been weak in myopinion.

Where is the support from the Unions?

Stop using the word telework. It’s tied to the old agreements. We must begin wholesale training for all managers about how to manage a mobile workforce.

IT support (for stable remote access) could be improved.

Very supportive of telework at all levels.

Not everything lends itself to telework

On balance, there is some lack of understanding of what “telework” actually is and what it takes to make it successful. It needs to start with analysis of the mission, determine what the people need to do adn what technology they need to do it. Then you can decide to what box (spce) you put it al in adn what that needs to look like (Hint: not offices and cubes!) And, it all takes times. You can’t flip a switch adn be completely mobile.

8. What impact do you feel the Telework Enhancement Act has had on telework at your agency? (RE-Q) (MC)
Very Negative Impact, Negative Impact, No Impact, Positive Impact, Very Positive Impact

The TEA has forced [AGENCY] in general, and [SUB-AGENCY] in particular, to confront some issues that we might never have confronted without that law. In addition, Secretary [NAME] has sought to drive increases to telework participation by setting some very aggressive goals, currently 35% of all eligible participating in core (regular, recurring) and 25% participating in ad hoc telework. Another positive change driven both by TEA and Secretary [NAME’S] goals is that ARS was moved to develop and implement a database to track telework eligibility and agreements data. In designing the database, we also added fields to link telework with transit subsidy and number of commuting miles saved by regular teleworkers. Not only has it made reporting to the Department easier, it has allowed us to develop telework “report cards” for [SUB-AGENCY] leadership. We provide these reports to them on a quarterly basis.

Telework program was already strong.

I don’t know enough about this legislation to be able to answer this question.

there seems to be a lack of accountability , and if managers have full plates, then they have difficulty keeping track of employees workload and progress.

[AGENCY] has always had “virtual employees”, which in my opinion are FTE that mobile work 100% of the time. To some, this is viewed as unfair and has caused some friction due to there not being any clear policy on it for so long. although we have policy on it now, the Act seemed to level the playing field for those who wanted to be virtual but not approved. note, this is prior to the scandal of last year that made costs part of the decision. so as you can see, costs never played a big role in the decision to approve virtuals.

Everything in the Act was already underway or done

Positive but minimal impact.

[AGENCY] was at the forefront and supportive of telework well before the 2010 Act came into play.

Our agency has always encouraged telework (at least the seven plus years that I have worked here). I believe the Telework Enhancement Act has helped spin the idea of telework in more of a positive aspect for those who may and / or are skeptical.

not very supportive of telework prior to the Telework Enhancement Act.

This is a trick question. :) Positive in the sense of employee morale, better work / life balance. However, as stated in #6, I have a concern overall productivity has had a negative impact. I see people declining meetings because it’s their work at home days.

[AGENCY] policy was already consistent with most aspects of the TEA, but the legislation brought attention and support to updates and improvements.

Be clear, telework for telework’s sake is not why [AGENCY] teleworks. It is a key vehicle to the reduction of space in buildings and an equally key enabler to improving Sustainability scores, especially scope 3 travel, commuting, energy waste and wastewater.

The TEA was needed to get a firm policy in place.

It gave teeth to the program that otherwise would have stalled.

[Agency] had a telework program for six years prior to the TEA. What was lacking was executive (career SES) engagement. The TEA helped spur that level of support which has had a positive outcome.

Helped me implement 1 day per week policy.

We went from 5% to 23.5% of Teleworkers.

This was the main impact: Presidential Memorandum of June, 2010 Excerpt: “Agencies shall also take immediate steps to make better use of remaining real property assets as measured by utilization and occupancy rates, annual operating cost, energy efficiency, and sustainability.

It forces managers to allow telework and think critically about telework.

The Telework Enhancement Act gave the agency permission to be bold and push the envelope.

Might have spurred getting agreements in place, but reality is another subject.

We were moving without it. Because the notion of telework moved much faster than congress the telework act missed great opportunity – the industry moved to mobility and well beyond telework. Don’t try to regulate it. Government regs and laws don’t make quick or innovative changes as needed to adapt best mobility practices.

In times of reduced budget ie reduced perks telework arrived at an opportune moment for management.

9. What impact have the recent budget cuts and sequestration had on telework at your agency? (RE-Q10) (MC)
Very Negative Impact, Negative Impact, No Impact, Positive Impact, Very Positive Impact

I checked “positive” a bit tentatively. One of the changes I’ve seen is more managers exploring telework as a retention tool because they often cannot fill behind employees who leave. Restrictions on travel are also starting to drive more extensive use of communication and collaboration technologies to avoid travel. While this hasn’t necessarily translated automatically more telework participation, proficiency in use of these technologies helps set the stage for a higher comfort level with telework.

Again, I can only state my opinion on how my area (the National Capital Area) implements and supports telework and have no idea if budget cuts, sequestration–or having to operate under continuing resolutions for year after year–have had any kind of impact, positive or negative, on my agency. I have not noticed a discernible impact in our area one way or the other.

again, [AGENCY] is very progressive with its telework / mobile work policy. budget cuts had no impact.

Our organizational leadership spends a lot of energy making sure we meet all measures, deadlines & stay below the radar screen concerning any issues which may become controversial. Policy decisions are made in a vacuum & without the input or consultation of the employees who actually use the systems or perform the work, which results in redundant processes & ineffective tools.

No idea.

“Impossible to gauge so early in the process.

Another survey flaw: no place for “”don’t know; can’t assess”””

I’m concerned that Government agencies are going to use budget cuts and environmental issues to force employees to pay for supplies, printing, etc. Pushing employees (who are not interested in telework) out of the office, is not reducing greenhouse gases. And, forcing telework employees to purchase their own printers, paper and supplies is just pushing the buck. What is really worse – full time telework employees cannot even deduct expenses (electricity, heat, office costs, etc.) on our taxes because the IRS code specifically states telework must be at the convenience of the employer, and government will not say it is (now).

Even more important since we do not receive enough transit benefits to cover monthly travel, people are happy to save money by WAH. Also, allows us to reduce footprint (moving in 2 years to smaller facility) and utilize desk sharing.

Telework is saving agency costs associated with utilities, janitorial services, printing, and wear and tear on furniture, carpeting, etc. It is also reducing the physical building size requirements by shared workspaces for employees instead of dedicated work spaces and it is reducing emissions from commuting.

it is about space – space costs money — win / win for the government

I’ve seen other agencies with furloughs restrict or eliminate telework.

I has limited some of the budget for technology that is helpful when teleworking

there are three things you can cut: People, Programs and Place. Any thoughtful person is going to choose the later once they realize that the budget is real!

Telework allows for the agency to lease less space as employees are willing to work from home!

We haven’t seen negative impact at this point.

People are now forced to look at telework as a cost savings.

Have not seen any impact plus or minus.

not sure about this

At [AGENCY] we look at telework as an overall mobility program. The three notions of that program are 1) Robust HR policies that support mobility with performance management, 2) Collaborative communicative technologies, 3) Rightsizing our real-estate portfolio with hoteling / desk sharing. The real estate rightsizing will give the agency significant cost savings that support the communications investments and the overall telework / mobility program.

They should drive agencies to be motivated to reduce costs in physical plant. I bet furloughed employees and managers would all choose no furlough to an assigned desk, bigger work space, or office perks.

Some signs of slowing down the retrofit of conventional office space into open bench seating environments.

Budget cuts have had an impact on space, which in turn (with severe restrictions) has forced telework – but it hasn’t changed the attitudes or perceptions of upper management who generally do not support telework. Eventually their attitudes may change. Immediate supervisors are very supportive and in the past, pushed the conversation to change upper managements’ perceptions and attitudes.

Congressional bashing of the workforce has a negative impact on productivity and morale whether teleworking or not teleworking. The political bashing, the rhetoric, and stereotyping takes its toll on all federal employees. It is not unusual to hear non-federal employees repeat the same hate and rhetoric without knowledge or basis. Just has a negative impact whether in the office or teleworking.

Positive impact due to the agency looking to reduce its footprint.

10. To what degree do you feel your agency measures the success of its telework program based on telework agreements, number of regular teleworkers, money saved, other (turnover,talent)? (MC)

For FY13, [AGENCY] has also set goals for measuring ad hoc telework agreements, in addition to measuring the same for regular telework.

We need an effective way to measure items like money saved and other impacts to help convey the role of telework to management.

By limiting the participation answer to the question to “the number of REGULAR teleworkers,” you limit my ability to provide accurate feedback. We measure success based on the number of employees who telework – period – without differentiating regular from situational. Readiness is the key, not regularity.

It is hard, if not impossible to calculate money saved. Our agency is at about 32% telework participation among eligible positions. We hope to increase the overall participation of those who telework once a week. We still have a strong interest in maintaining the benefits of face to face collaboration. We are seeking a balance.

I don’t know how my agency measures the success of its telework program; however, one would assume that environmental considerations–GHG emissions / gallons of gasoline / heating-cooling-lighting of office space reduced, as well as time saved and work-life balance would be major metrics.

we should track retention and productivity. These are just as important as saving money.

The checked box is most important

It wasn’t until [TITLE] came on board that [AGENCY], at least [SUB-AGENCY], ever measured money saved. I feel our agency doesn’t necessarily measure the success of telework by reducing turnover, I do think it promotes telework to try and cater to the worker in their late 20s.

Work accomplished is not measured at all.

Our agency, and the Government at large seems to focus on the number of teleworkers, but not on the actual benefit of telework. Getting everyone to telework is not a success in my mind, getting everyone to telework with no negative impact on productivity is success.

The only measures I’ve seen for Telework were based solely on numbers. Number of employees coding telework on timecards.

Teleworking is absolutely attracting talent, allowing work to continue in inclement weather, and saving money. Teleworking has saved absenteeism in my group. Several people have had serious heath problems but through reasonable accommodation, they were able to continue their duties through telework. Teleworking has allowed them to perform their duties remotely and not exhaust all of their leave, continue earning a paycheck to support their families, and to support the agency’s mission.

Again no way to measure if performance has been impacted positively or negatively

One thing to keep in mind regarding telework. It doesn’t necessarily save money. In fact, in some cases – the added costs in technology can increase costs. Unless telework is paired with other workplace strategies, such as right-sizing, desk-sharing, or open-plan environments, there may be little or no cost savings at all.

Telework opens the door and discussion on agency’s ability to reduce real estate cost and direct limited funds to mission rather than unneeded space.

from memory

Other Impacts – sustainability targets, transit subsidy reductions due to increased telework, ability to claim more workers per square foot thereby improving the efficiency of the work place.

We measure the program success in terms of the cumulative participation rate and hours teleworked; the latter grows faster than the number of participants.

We measure participation in telework every pay period and cumulatively on a quarterly basis and publish bureau-level reports. We do not make a major distinction between regular telework and other types. Spent six months trying to find ways to measure telework impact, in the end, could not find a concrete, repeatable way – everything was a guesstimate.

Very important retention tool. Also COOP.

the last two are hard to measure and are not measured with any accuracy as far as I can tell. The others are on the scorecard and so reported to our agency and we have goals for increasing hours teleworked and agreements.

Track hours of telework per pay period for agency and major organizations.

Everyone has a telework agreement, it’s about adoption at the local level that we need to measure. With VPN and CITRIX tracking, we get a good sense of our remote workforce.

11. Have you seen any positive impact on the items below as a result of telework at your agency? Do you think the impact will be greater in the future? (MC)

Has already had an impact, Greater impact in the future

The list above includes many perceived benefits, but we have not found a way to measure.

“Survey seems very biased: there is no place to put no impact at all.”

we’re on the edge of seeing huge positive impacts if handled correctly with the occupancy of [AGENCY]’s new HQs

Some impacts are negative, less collaboration, less productivity for some, more for others, some like it because they can accomplish a lot on a telework day, some like it because they can do laundry on telework day.

this question needs more clarity and doesn’t make much sense to me. I think the only positive impact telework has had on the items listed is that we can work when the government shuts down which is good. I don’t know if you are asking about a positive or negative “impact” in column 2. But basically, I have seen no difference in any of the items. In fact, I think the morale has decreased because people don’t interact anymore person to person even though we all have video. this question has to be combined with the workspace environment one is working in. because [AGENCY] has mobile work, we don’t has assigned seating either. so again, this begs the question, why do we even have to come in at all when your staff or colleagues or boss are never in on the same day. you ask about impact of telework on collaboration and all I can say is having webexes is a great way to collaborate. is this better than face to face? well, yes and no — since travelling is not option any more you have to find other means to communicate and that is done through technology. so now, everyone is so used to just having a webex or conference call sharing google docs that this is how we work now. so again, why bother coming in anymore? I find my staff is absent just as much as before and I take just as much leave as before. although teleworking does make it easier to go to doctor appointments and you use less time — so that is good.

No idea

Productivity / absenteeism / collaboration have been NEGATIVELY impacted. Only morale and stress have been positively impacted.

Survey seems very biased: there is no place to put no impact at all.

Even as the “Government leader” for telework and mobility, 99% of new positions or promotions advertised in our agency still require a physical presence in a particular office, even though most of these positions could be done from anywhere.

Telework works great for self starters and those employees that do their work regardless of where they are whether in the office or at home. Unfortunately, none producers are not dealt with effectively even when they are in the office. Management however, uses it as an excuse to limit telework. In reality telework does not affect performance. Employees that work, work no matter where they are.

Not all impacts have been positive. For example, working in a more agile environment with telework and a hoteling environment, COOP has not been considered in the planning. Productivity is still questionable and was never considered in the move to a more agile environment.

I didn’t mark environmental or collaboration because I really think environmentally it’s a wash. I don’t think telework increases or decreases collaboration.

It would help with retention and morale if people we not so unhappy about many other aspects of the job already – not enough employees so much higher workload, no end of year bonus, no awards or recognition throughout the year for exemplary performance, no cost of living or inflation raises, no longer have morale building days, (these would not be issues if we never had them – but we did and they were all taken away within a short window), being punished for other areas and can no longer travel for projects (it makes it VERY difficult to get a customer to trust you and to form a connection when you have never met them in person).

Teams that don’t meet / work in person regularly may begin to lose their effectiveness and cohesion. In addition, I have found that it is extremely difficult to mentor new employees when the team is out of the office 3 days a week or more on a regular basis.

there are some people and some jobs that are not amenable to mobility. we should not require or expect mobility for jobs that require collocation on site

I anticipate that telework will continue to be used as a tool for accomplishing work in [AGENCY] and believe it’s likely to continue to impact all these areas.

Interesting, retention and productivity should not be erroneously linked to employee engagement or a better workplace… Telework effectively hide a hostile work environment because people can remove themselves from the environment and thereby effect coping mechanisms that would otherwise not be available.

Productivity has been about the same or slightly better. All categories checked have been positive impacts. We hope to achieve a costs savings in space as a result of our Mobile Work Center for teleworkers, but it’s primarily used as an alternative work location for those coming to the DC office.

FEVS shows positive in terms of telework from 2011 to 2012. Hard to be specific since the questions changed from 2011 to 2012.

It’s the future with [SUB-AGENCY]

impact, or positive impact? the question is confusing. I have seen more people absent to telework, but I suppose if they can telework in lieu of sick leave that is a positive impact. I think people who telework regularly because they have a long commute are less stressed. COOP has not been tested, although people will telework instead of taking a snow day if they can. RE11.Have you seen any positive impact on real estate costs or sustainability as a result of telework at your agency? Do you think the impact will be greater in the future? (MC) Has already had an impact, Greater impact in future
No real impact now. There is a huge impact possible, but would require a HUGE culture change from management downward.

Can only have a real estate impact if policy changes to three or more days per week, and no assigned desks for teleworkers

This question presumes a guaranteed postive impact. I am not convinced there will be a positive impact now or in the future.

Our current senior leadership philosophy and policies are shortsighted on quick cost savings without reinvesting in our people to allow for permanent and innovative impacts of mobility. We will see huge impacts in the future years in some visible areas and untold lost opportunities.

Mobility retrofits cost a fraction of traditional renovations so we have been able to take down walls blocking sunlight to the interior of our building so all enjoy more open sunlit environments when they choose work in the office.

The greatest real estate cost reduction is due to budget reductions, not telework. The more employees work at home, the better for the environment due to reduced commuting, wear and tear on the official duty station, and reduced energy consumption at the official duty station. <![if !supportLists]>12. To what extent do you feel the following are a barrier to your agency’s telework success? (MC) No impact, Small impact, Moderate impact, High impact, Very high impact

Choices: Lack of funding, Lack of technology, Ineffective technology, Lack of training, Ineffective training, Security issues, Manager resistance, Employee resistance, Need for office coverage, Staff shortages, Agency culture, Lack of agency commitment

In my response to “agency culture” I am referring to [AGENCY], not [AGENCY] as a whole.

it takes time to shift the culture but it will happen quicker than expected.

our agency totally embraces telework but again we see it as mobile work. as long as you are accessible and have the connectivity, you can work from where ever you want. I feel I get the same amount of productivity out of my staff now as I did before — and it is all good work.

“Lack of funding – govt should pay for my home internet

Lack of training / ineffective training – teach management and employees how to maintain accountability

Office is deserted on Mondays and Fridays – telework, combined with AWS, crowds all the meetings into Tues / Wed / Thurs.

Staff shortages – less work gets done, less collaboration, less on-the-job teaching, junior people learn more slowly because they’re not in the office working with the senior people….all this exacerbates the shortages of FTE.

Agency culture – [AGENCY] has a culture of non-accountability and laissez-faire. There’s little real supervision or real management – it’s been this way ever since the organization was “”flattened”” – supervisory ratio is something like 1:20 employees.”

The business world needs to evolve and have more virtual training. I can’t believe that some training ([NAMES AGENCIES]) still only offer in person sessions in Washington DC. If they offered virtual sessions at $20 or $25 a session (for each presenter) I have to believe they would be flooded with people across the country who are interested.

The agency officials in Washington, DC are very committed but at Areaal levels, it is not as strong. There seems to be a issue of justification for existence and the need by some managers to manage by the number of people in seats in the office.

Again this is hard to answer as it’s written. I would of liked to seen an answer that identifies telework success based on performance.

It seems different departments and divisions have adopted telework to varying degrees

We need a receptionist to be present to receive visitors and to receive mail from FedEX and USPS.

Although [AGENCY] as a whole has a culture supportive of telework, there are naturally some individual supervisors and employees who are not comfortable with implementation of the telework tool. We have great technology, but there’s always something new, or some new security wrinkle, so I can’t say “no impact” for any of these. The same goes for training. We have good telework training that’s mandatory, but I still get questions that surprise me. And the IT training is very robust, but there are still “gaps” as we try to catch up with constant changes.

“A bigger barrier is poor performance planning and plans that rely on “”line-of-sight”” and not results. We are picking away at it….

Another barrier is the word “telework” It is “work!”

Management resistance / acceptance or support varies dramatically among organizations. We still have too many managers who don’t support the program, but we continue to show improvement in the participation rate.

In addition to negative articles such as the Yahoo executive that repealed telework

See notes to previous questions. Also, technology and security are so interwoven, hard to separate them. Insistence on using govt owned equipment is the major technology barrier- especially when other options exist.

I don’t know about agency impact so much as bureau impact, that is how I answered. Many jobs and offices require the employees presence, or access to documents and paperwork, our access to email offsite is great but VPN access is not, I would have to borrow an old laptop from IT, get a card reader, ensure credentials and all, it takes an hour to get set up in advance of telework day.

“The most effective type of training, in my opinion, is practical and experiential, which is more expensive to setup and harder to measure.

For [AGENCY], as we’ve entered a crisis period, I think that there was a shift against telework as there were lots of fire drills, and because we weren’t fully up to speed, people just went with the work model that was most expedient. The leadership lost an opportunity to evolve as they were reforming the organization. I think the same is true for Yahoo!”

[AGENCY] is fortunate that we have already made the IT investments for mobility. [AGENCY] is the first agency on the cloud, we have soft-phones, virtual meeting software, laptops with built in webcams and mobile cell phones with unlimited hot-spot service in our contract. I would say another barrier not listed here is a workforce that may not be conducive to telework. The government workforce is very diverse, and some employees are not trained as knowledge workers even though they may be in knowledge jobs.

Interesting that once again you presmue telework is universally good and thus your questions only address barries without addressing any real issues in ability to accomplish the mission.

We have some mid level manager arguments that we must preserve space in case this mobility “fad” isn’t in vogue with the next administration. Additionally the Yahoo incident is used in appropriately by some to defend no going mobile – instead of using it as a best practice to regroup when needed for training, refocus, or other specific need to be more together than mobile, but with the intention of eventually solving that issue and getting back to a mobile environment..

[AGENCY] recognized about two years ago that we had to lead the way on this issue in order to gain an understanding on the issue because we will have to advise a large percentage of the federal workforce on the best path to proceed down.

Although employees are willing, even eager to work from home in many cases, they are often unwilling to give up a full-size workstation to do so.

A kin to security issues relates to document storage and document access (need to keep documents safe and secure, sometimes off the computer); 2) Even federal facilities have retail operations and client/vendor out-reach which require the mission to be at an official duty station; 3) technology connectivity is critical; 4) legal issues regarding liability when a federal employee must use their personal vehicle to travel to meetings during the work day; and, 5) when is telework not-teleworking.. can an employee go on vacation and choose to telework on a rainy day or must the employee always be ready to come into the office if needed.. plus, is just reading e-mail teleworking?

Manager resistence adn understanding is teh biggest issue. Agency culture is interesting, but it all goes to understanding “telework.” it’s really about mobilitiy, but everyone thinks “telework” means “woroking from Home.” whaile that may be part of it, it should be be thought of in terms of working away from the office. Then, the “office” becomes a base of operations focused on collaboration. Theat causes the space to change. Form must follow function.

13. How comfortable are you / your manager at managing teleworkers? (MC)
Uncomfortable, Not very comfortable, Fairly comfortable, Comfortable, N/A

I manage one totally virtual employee who works out of an [AGENCY] office in [LOCATION], while I work in [LOCATION]. She also teleworks two days per week from home. From my perspective, it doesn’t matter whether she’s in the office or at home. She is very productive and produces extremely high quality work.

2 people on my staff are virtual employees in different time zones and I can’t think of a time when they were not accessible. even the one on [TIMEZONE] says he is available for meetings at 9:00 am — which is still within the Eastern Time core hours so I am good with that. the other team members telework 2-3 days per week and some are on alternate days that I telework. however this is because there are not enough docking stations for all of us so we have to alternate. again, this is why this has to be looked at as how it is associated with the work space environment. so we are only in the office on the same day one day per week but we “see” each other sometimes every day over video. And my new boss is virtual. so again, I wonder why we even have to come in at all. why bother come in when my team is teleworking and I have no need to “collaborate” with colleagues in person in the office. however, this is when the agreement kicks in and we have to come in. Well, teleworking or mobile work is not perfect, nor is it totally fair because of the virtual employees, but it seems to work. it is just a different way of working. just like when the fax machine came out in the mid-80s and all of a sudden you didn’t have to mail anything or use a courier to get documents to people.

“As a mentor to two junior people, I don’t have clue what they’re doing / producing all day, except “”hanging out”” on email (easy to do / get sucked into, even at work!)

My boss is probably quite comfortable – because he doesn’t manage even in the office.

Our lower level managers have not yet adjusted to managing by results regardless of where the work is being performed and continue to try and use telework (restriction of) as “punishment”. They’re still in the mindset that unless they see you in the cubicle every day they’re not comfortable that the work is getting done.

Managers don’t have time to sit and “watch” employees whether they are in the office or not. As long as a manager gets “results” and is able to reach employees, that’s what really matters. We must focus on results.

The manager just above my immediate manager is comfortable and confident in his trust of those he supervises and in the employees that his employees’ supervise. The managers above him are not comfortable with managing teleworkers.

Both myself and my manager managed based on performance outcomes vs hours in a chair, but we are not the norm.

The only thing I would note is my preference to keep telework to one day a week – or a maximum of two days a week. There are benefits to working face-to-face on a problem / project that often get lost when teams are rarely together in the same room.

There is a broad spectrum in terms of comfort level. Our agency policy allows telework to the maximum extent possible, up to full time. But we still have folks who are comfortable with one day … but not two days in a row. Or with a couple of days … but want people in the office when the supervisor is there. Of course, we still have folks who aren’t comfortable with telework at all, so it is truly a range. Overall, [AGENCY] supports telework and is experiencing continuing use of the tool for as a routine part of the toolbox used by employees and supervisors, as well as a strong means for accomplishing work in challenging / emergency situations like weather problems.

Trust but verify…. good performance plans and routine feedback make for productive remote workers

Varies by level of manager; our senior managers are comfortable, but mid-managers vary within HC. Obviously, our operations staff is limited, but most have situational agreements in place for closures or other emergencies.

While my manager and I are comfortable (we sort of have to be – I’m [TITLE] and he’s [TITLE]), we know this is an issue, especially in jobs that are non administrative in nature. For example, you can’t drill holes in the ground from home – have to be on the job. But you could write the report from home – but field managers are not separating the two tasks.

Again, I and my manager work in the filed of mobility.

14. To what extent do you think each of the following initiatives would impact the success of your agency’s telework program? (MC)
Choices: Have a budget to fund telework training, technology, etc., Require every manager to telework at least once a week, Designate everyone eligible unless proven otherwise, Have a full time telework manager with agencies, Issue and Executive Order with specific telework goals, Provide public access to agency telework progress

Ratings: Would definitely help, Likely to help, Might make a difference, Unlikely to make a difference

An EO might help to sustain telework progress that might be lost with an Administration change.

I’m not convinced that designating everyone eligible would really help because many of our eligible employees “”opt out”” of participating in telework.

While, I have noted that managers who telework are more likely to support telework for their employees, I’m ambivalent about requiring them to telework at least once a week. I’m afraid that many of them would resent a mandate like that and take it out on telework.”

Some of these would actually be detrimental. This survey seems designed only to elicit positive responses. Research based on this survey would not be credible.

Telework is a tool, not an end in itself.

these questions don’t seem to pertain to [AGENCY] since we already have a full time telework manager, training, and technology. although I think designating everyone eligible is the wrong thing to do. some positions can’t be done remotely.

You are making a big assumption that the impact from each initiative will always be helpful to the program’s success. This seems like an unfair bias in favor of these initiatives.

Since [AGENCY] has gone to telework hook-line-and-sinker, we’re “”already there””.

The problem is that in addition to cutting the available FTE, with telework, the existing FTE is producing less work.”

Top down mandates for telework are necessary. Managers should be evaluated on how well their subordinates are teleworking, otherwise wide spread adoption will continue to be hindered. Every telework related mandate that comes out is met at the minimal standard, i.e. if the goal is everyone telework at least once a week, that is all that will be accomplished. I suggest everyone should be designated as 100% telework, unless management can justify why not. That will lead to the real savings of telework, less office foot print per agency, energy savings etc…

Employees should be allowed to telework as often as they want as long as their work is being accomplished in a satisfactory manner and it is not presenting a hardship on the functions of the office.

[AGENCY] fully embraces technology has a great policy and great technology

All of the above are already taking place, so it has already helped, it’s not “Likely to help” as I checked.

The problem with goals is that numbers can be manipulated. Getting people to accept telework is a culture issue. And, cultures change from the top. We were lucky to have Martha Johnson who really supported and pushed telework during a turning point in government. There are a number of people who telework from time to time or when the weather is bad, etc. Many people will not go 100% because they believe (and are often correct) that their career will hit a brick wall. How many management positions or executive level positions are 100% telework? (None that I know of.)

agency is successful in achieving these directions

[AGENCY] has already implemented the first four initiatives with positive results.

With the exception of requiring every manager to telework at least once a week, [AGENCY] already accomplishes these goals / initiatives.

The [AGENCY] enjoys a successful telework program the program meets little resistance.

We have for the last couple of ye steered away from setting particular goals, taking the position that actually using telework as it best supports the work of the agency is more effective than a numeric goal. We already designate everyone eligible for telework unless they fit certain specific criteria – and then the manager is supposed to develop a plan with the employee for attaining eligibility (unless specifically excluded based on TEA). We have a robust set of IT tools that we use for communication whether in the office or teleworking, and have moved toward use of teleconferences and other methods to avoid travel and save $$. Years ago a top leader implemented a requirement for all SES to try telework on an occasional basis. Requiring every manager to telework once a week might make some difference, but given the existing support from telework, it might create resistance.

We are already way ahead of any goal that would be written; a full time telework manager would have nothing else to do… It is not a full time job; we already designate everyone eligible and the supervisor has to provide reasons why the employee is not eligible and what they are doing to make them eligible. Making a manager telework is not in your power and is an Agency responsibility. The job is delivering results not how or where they are delivered. Visibility down to the Agency department level could shame some into doing it but again, Telework is a tool to deliver results and not a condition of employment.

We issue goals at least annually. I can’t imagine a FT position, as I do it all as part of my work. The default in our personnel system will be all employees are eligible, so a Telework Coordinator will only have to change those who are exceptions. We could use more funds for remote access capability at many sites. I don’t think managers will agree to telework at least once / week. The public has access to our reports now.

When we implemented an approach that everyone was telework eligible unless proven otherwise, and combined it with reporting on participation and meetings with Bureau directors, we started to see an impact.

Beware of an Executive Order and targets… this will require recording / reporting and more attn gets paid to answering the mail than changing the culture.

The key to the full time telework manager is to ensure they are not just a process person. That manager needs to be connected to leadership to drive the culture change. It’s not just about counting the number of hours teleworked or writing the perfect telework policy. They need to be empowered to change the culture.

15. Successful telework programs can have a positive impact on a variety of other mandates such as those related to Continuity Of Operations, Electronic Accommodations Program, Reduction in Real Property, Cloud-First, Reduction in Waste, Sustainability, Work-Life Balance, etc. To what extent do you think creating greater integration of mandates (e.g. cost sharing, combined RFPs, information sharing, cross-mandate teams) would have on telework success ? (RE-Q20) (MC)

Unlikely to make a difference, Might make a difference, Likely to help, Would definitely help

I don’t really understand this question. It presupposes I know about these other programs and how they might be impacted positively or negatively by telework.

Let’s define “telework success”…..getting your FTE resources to be more EFFECTIVE. I’m not against telework….used situationally, when heads down work is really needed, or to accommodate weather, minor illness, family situations, etc….it’s a godsend. But used blindly, regularly, whether the flexibility is needed or not, I think a lot less work / collaboration / OTJ training / etc gets done. Projects take longer, contracting takes longer, etc because folks can’t connect EFFECTIVELY when they need to.

Productivity still needs to be the focal point.

Don’t understand the question.

Other agencies also need a buy-in

Already integrated at [AGENCY].

sorry, don’t really understand the question.

Again, we already do a lot of integration at the agency level.

Now this will help. Establish sustainability goals equal to employees teleworking 3-4 days a pay period. let the Agencies manage to the goal as they see fit BUT… if you do not hit the mark, suspend hiring authority until such time as they hit the targets… That you can do and that forces better management practices

Since our COOP, sustainability, and worklife programs incorporate / address telework benefits, I don’t see that a mandate will improve much with a mandate beyond what OMB has issued to the CIO. What does need to happen, though, is to have a closer working relationship between the CIO Council and the Interagency Telework Work Group. It shouldn’t be the responsibility of the [ORGANIZATION NAME] to make that happen.

Our environmental management office did a study on what would most reduce green house gas emissions and looked a fair number of variables – telework by far, had the greatest impact and ROI given the cost. While the report was prepared for the senior political appointee who oversees all Dept administrative functions, it was never briefed. And because of the lack of support from the previous Secretary, it may not have made a difference. But there is some excellent data in the report.

don’t understand the question- cost-sharing? on mandates? what RFPs? Reclamation does not have any funding for the mandates mentioned, as far as I know.

Telework opens the door on many topics. it’s not a silo topic. Mobility is in everything we do and as such should be integrated with other policies and organizational goals

All those things you list are likely to DECREASE ability to telework – telework works when employees and managers understand what their job is. If you mandate space reduction, you create musical chairs, not a good work environment

You first have to break up the appropriations mafia. This concept has huge potential, but try simple cost sharing between two agencies within, say, DOI or DHS first to see how difficult that task becomes when funding is addressed.

It is all mostly a new world and mobility spaces must match the culture of the company / agency who will live in it. Best advice we got was to start small, experiment and learn what works for your agency. We visited other spaces and quickly recognized that there is less need to worry with open floor plans because they are quick easy to revise when something does not work out as expected. Surprisingly, the open floor plan generate more collaboration than expected and actually revived a few careers that were becoming jaded.

16. To what extent do you think it would help if agencies were required to establish and report telework results such as absenteeism, per person real estate costs, time to fill new positions, customer service ratings, number of employees able to telework on snow days, etc.? (MC)
Unlikely to make a difference, Might make a difference, Likely to help, Would definitely help

My biggest concern here would be that [AGENCY] does not have the systems in place to be able to track and report most of these things. My first year as [AGENCY] telework program manager, I would spend 3-6 days per month tracking and reporting telework metrics manually using Excel spreadsheets.

You are strongly cautioned, however, that there will be no single office that will be able to integrate this information for you and having to report on these will be a major burden whose cost in collection is unlikely to be warranted by the information gained.

In the Federal Government, employees have a right to use sick and annual leave. How can we know if increasing telework reduces use of leave?

I don’t understand what you are asking — “help” what?

Again, define “help”…..just getting people teleworking isn’t the answer. Having some measure of effectiveness of resources is critical.

“It is hard to say that [reduced] absenteeism is a telework result. It would be interesting to design a research study to determine if there is actually a correlation.”

Even though I think this would definitely help – tracking this data is always the problem.

Again, where is the emphasis on if productivity is up, work completed on time, measures being met, customer satisfaction, orders filled, etc.

?? – agencies do report this

In addition to OPM requirements, we are continuing to track use of emergency telework, which is typically telework in response to an operating status announcement that allows unscheduled telework. We are working seriously on reduction of real estate costs.

There is not a cause effect here…telework does not drive the results… It is an enabler of results… don’t drink your own cool-aid!

[AGENCY] was 1 of the 4 agencies that reported during Snowmageddon and expects to do it again if needed. Agencies should be accountable.

The cost of the reporting and the mechanics of doing this in a large Agency like [Agency] (let alone something like the [Agency] with [many more] employees as [Agency]) would be so prohibitive as to loose any value. And you would need a defined, fully funded, research project to truly show that Telework was the variable that caused reduced absenteeism. So far, all the reports we have seen are not scientific and would not survive a review by [Agency] researchers.

17. What impact do you feel each of the following would have on your agency’s telework success? (MC)
Choices: Share telework strategies, tactics; Showcase success stories; Share private sector solutions; Stop calling it “telework”; Safe way to report obstacles; Safe way to report abuse

Ratings: Unlikely to make a difference, Might make a difference, Likely to help, Would definitely help
In [AGENCY], I believe we have safe ways to report obstacles and abuse. What we don’t have is agency support to do anything about it. Similarly, we do have ways to share telework strategies and tactics (government or private sector), but there is little agency will to implement them and even fewer resources to be able to do it. The word “telework” generates an immediate negative reaction among many of the managers in my agency. I look forward to the day when it’s just “work” like any other day in the office or out of it.

We’ve already implemented all of these to varying degrees.

I have a slide in a telework training class that I do that traces the history of telework in the federal government. I use it to highlight that it isn’t a new program and has been around for almost 100 years. I emphasize key points where it was effectively used. For example, the first instance of telework in the federal government (it was then called “home-based work”) was with the US Army in 1917. They used it to expand the uniform production capacity at Jeffersonville Depot, Indiana when they hired 20,000 more civilian employees in order to produce military uniforms for WWI. There was no room at the depot, so new hires had to own their own sewing machines and be willing to work from home. They were paid by the piece and the Army sent out trucks once a week to pick up uniforms and drop off materials.

“what do you mean by “”safe””? I answered as if you mean “”safe”” to mean anonymous.

the telework PMO has shared success stories and some of them seem pretty biased”

I prefer calling it ‘virtual work’ or ‘virtual work management’.

How about showcasing ABUSES!!!!!!!! How about creating more supervisors? How about teaching managers and supervisors to manage and supervise?

Where you do business should not matter as long as the business gets down.

Work is work. Most people do not know I’m not in the office or not in DC, unless I’ve told them. People need to stop adding (I’m teleworking on Monday and Thursday) or some other message on their email.

We have a long way to go in our culture. Performance based outcomes and measures need to be the norm in our agency. We still have people who state on their phone they are teleworking, it should be seamless to our customers. We still have folks that decline meetings on their work at home days. Employees that work at home with screaming kids in the background.

“mobile work is the new name — we do showcase success stories providing strategies and tactics for other agencies to view.

[AGENCY] has already implemented over half of these, so the difference has already been achieved.

telework is a dreadful term ,on a par with hoteling. Telework sound as though you are a switchboard operator, hotelling conjures ideas of having to sleep in beds with people you dont know… yuck!

We already share strategies and tactics, and showcase success stories, through training and other. Identifying ways to report obstacles and abuses might be helpful … but as long as telework remains at the discretion of the individual supervisor, which continues to make sense (telework should be used as a tool to support effective work accomplishment), we continue to struggle with identifying a means other than chain-of-command by which some sort of “overview” of that discretion can work.

Finally… it is work! Obstacles / abuse.. we have that and we invest time managing manager expectations. That is not the way. Use the sustainability angle and allow the manager to determine the answer. If I limit the GHG emissions per building or organization, it forces the only solution… fewer people in the office and then the manager must figure out how to do it. Make the pain of same greater than the pain of change. Sustainability targets can hurt and serve the public. Fewer people in the office, less energy waste, less transit subsidy $ (more $ into the mission), less waste water, Less local / long distance travel… all is good

Employees complain to the Telework Coordinators and [AGENCY] staff regularly, so I’m getting that feedback. We also try to share good practices quarterly.

The Telework Exchange already does the sharing of success, private sector, etc., especially at the semi-annual town hall meetings. Don’t need another venue. But they could improve how they do this in a number of ways.

Telework is a limiting term. RE18 To what extent do your plans for office space changes include input from the following? Choices: HR, Training, Sustainability, IT, Press Office/PR Ratings: Not at all, Slight, Moderate, GreatIf our training and culture areas remain low priority for funding we will lose countless opportunities and continue to fall behind where we were once leading the pack.

We need to treat telework, etc. as a fact of life and something to get used to. Our agency seems to feel there are major psychological barriers that need to be addressed.

HR must lead teh effor tot drive teh employee change management and ensure we are recruiting the right type of person to work in a mobile environment, IT must provide the tools. Real estate is teh last requirement, not the first.

18. Where do you get your telework training materials? (MC)
Choices: We create our own, We use several sources, We use OPM materials, We customize OPM materials, We use vendor materials, I don’t know, We don’t provide telework training

Two separate modules for employees and supervisors that is based on the agency telework policy.

i have seen some videos on line and they do reference OPM but really don’t know where they get them.

Don’t know for sure.

Don’t need them.

webex / virtual meetings, headsets, remote logon tools, etc etc provided by [AGENCY]

All of my duties and tasks are electronic so it made no difference where I am physically in order to continue to perform my duties.

[AGENCY] provides a great deal of telework training

www.telework.gov is used for the basic training requirement and that is supplemented locally by each Telework Coordinator based on local prociedures.

Dept policy requires the use of OPM’s training or equivalent (and we have set standards for equivalency). Bureaus use all sorts of options that are not Dept-driven.

From You–Kate Lister

I think we use OPM, not sure, have to take the training before signing a telework agreement but it was a long time agago.

I don’t think there’s a need to create more material… the internet is wrought with thought pieces, blogs, and other sources. The key is to find ways to apply and integrate these materials into an agency’s core mission. RE13. To what extent is your agency succeeding with telework, hoteling, desk sharing, etc. (MC) Choices: Telework Telework, Hotelling, Desk sharing, Activity-based work environments, Reducing office space, Increasing employee to desk ratios Rating: Barely started, Minor successes, Picking up steam, Well on the way, Fully implemented, Not pursuing

Our current plan is to reduce housing 6000 employees in six different buildings in the Washington metro area to one 900K sf building. One half of the bldg is just finishing modernization and employees will start moving in about 30 days.

The majority of our agency employees are “field going”, but are required to return to the office daily because of restrictions on “home-to-work” use of government vehicles.

The biggest impact on office space reduction has been the budget cuts and OMB pressure on agencies to reduce. A few one or two person offices have closed for 100% telework, but that is the exception. RE14. Choose the answer that most closely matches your regarding desk ratio, existing and planned. (MC) Choices: Existing employee to desk ratio, Existing employee to desk ratio, Target employee to desk ratio, Target employee to desk ratio Ratings: 1 to 1, 1.5 to 1, 2 to 1, 2.5 to 1, 3 to 1 or greater

Culture is not embracing desk sharing for majority of staff

Those that work from home have relinquished their offices / desks and are not accounted for in this number.

Some industry can do 15 or 20:1. What’s the point of limiting this to max of 3:1?

desk sharing is primarily targeted for seasonal employees.

Agency is not pursing at this time.

Next month moving to a location where the ratio will drastically increase.

No target at this point

19. How important do you feel training is to your telework program in each of the following areas? (MC)

We’re not at the cultural level with telework where training on hoteling or open office plans would have very much impact. Of all these options, I think performance management / results-based training and technology training on the use of communication and collaboration tools that enable remote work are the most needed in my agency. In addition these options, I would also add team building in a virtual environment as a training need.

dont understand the question

Results based management training is needed – whether or not an organization has a telework program.

Come on and see it. We have training every week in these areas security is mandated, we have WebEx training on IT on an ongoing basis and we have a social media webex site “supervisors lounge” where we address these and other topics for changing the culture and educating managers.

Can’t really separate technology and security.

Training is critical, but the best way to train is to encourage doing. This is especially true for technology training. I think, we are beyond, “this is how you use a computer” training. Most technology today does not come with an owners manual, rather it’s about virtual self-help. The government should adopt that model. It’s cheaper and it’s what people are accustomed to

20. How satisfied are you with the telework training [from In-house, OPM, Vendor] you use? (MC)
Dissatisfied Somewhat satisfied Satisfied Very Satisfied Don’t use it

We need so much more!

Did not receive telework training but did not feel that it was necessary for me. However, it may be helpful and necessary for others.

We refer to online training at telework.gov as a resource for employees who wish to access it … but require completion of agency online telework training.

Telework Coordinators / Managers and TMO’s really need training specific to advising managers on how to effectively manage teleworkers and the issues that surface. Additionally, training is needed to help agencies identify telework eligibility (i.e. according to positions).

Stuff changes and emphasis for agencies with advanced mobility programs and those who are crawling into it are very different….

In-house training varies considerably among organizations based on the number of employees who telework and the TC’s availability.

Telework.Gov’s training site especially the testing portion and certificate makes the telework program appear like a joke

We conducted a pilot using a vendor with senior leaders as the audience, that went very well and had a positive impact. But the cost was prohibitive to deploy this across the Department.

The OPM guidance is dated and overly operationally focused (first you do this, then you do that….). It needs to support the broader conversation about the changing trends in workforce and work, how to measure and manage knowledge workers, how to communicate and be present in a virtual world, etc… RE15. Has your agency done a space utilization survey? (MC) Choices: Yes, No, In progress, Planned, Planned but not funded

several years old and needs updating

Very rudimentary. we did not compare it with a max utilization rate. What standard is the industry using? Traditional utilization rates don’t provide useable data to analyze and compare. Perhaps it’s a general ratio but the utilization rate depends on the structure as much as the type of work to accomplish. Old building column spacing does not allow for the same configurations as newer structures.

Results are not shared.

I don’t know what this term means. We are required annually to review utilization rates in our offices for an annual space plan.To many interpretations of what utilization really means. It needs to be more closely related to use. If I have a building full of desks some consider it utilized. However, if nobody is using the desks it’s not utilized in my opinion. Working in this areas I have run into the problem a lot.

Yes but they refuse to accept the results of the Study done on our HQ

not across the whole department RE16. If you have done an occupancy survey, what average and peak utilization did it show? Choices: 30% or less, 31 to 50%, 51 to 70%, 71 to 90%, 91% or over, n/a

RE17. Looking five years down the road, how much less space will you need due to telework and other alternative workplace strategies? (MC) Choices: Minimal savings, 10 – 20%, 21 – 30%, 31 – 40%, 41 – 50%, 51 – 60%, >60%
Unless a major shift occurs in the culture, and security of information, which is tied to technology, I don’t see a big shift likley. If they are not inclined to it now, they sure as heck won’t be near anything in 5 years.

The max we can support and still hope to accompish our mission is 2 days per week of telework for some employees consequently there are very few real estate savings to be had.

Not easily quantifiable.

If we have roughly 40% out of traditional offices, with technology (really big IF) advancements and service delivery advancements due to innovation, technology and human intelligence we should find answers to the “belonging” and social side of the office.

Although we anticipate space savings in our areaal and central offices, we do not anticipate rent savings.

Not actively pursued by agency. Budget cuts have had impact not telework.

5 years from now federal space should drastically be reduced, unless political pressures prevent it

Not sure yet

21. To what extent do you feel each of the following initiatives would impact the success of your agency’s telework program? (MC)
Choices: Easier online access to files, More collaboration tools, Access to videoconferencing, Streamline vendor contracting, Provide a way to monitor where teleworkers are working, Provide a way to monitor when teleworkers are working, Provide a way to monitor what teleworkers are working on, Share vendor reviews Ratings: Unlikely to make a difference, Might make a difference, Likely to help, Would definitely help

We have Office Communicator available as a tool that ostensibly helps managers see where and when teleworkers are working. However, that isn’t a reliable indicator. I think it’s more important for managers to have / enhance tools that will help them manage by results. This may be more behavioral than technological.

It’s very odd: managers are very concerned about teleworkers who might be wasting time and not working yet they ignore time-waste and malingering taking place right under their noses in the workplace.

for those items I didn’t answer, we already have all these tools. you need them to make mobile work successful. you need access to everything you would have if you were in the office. as to monitoring where, when and what teleworkers are working on, we can see when they are on line and when they are idle. as to what they are working on — that is just saying you don’t trust them which is wrong. you need to set expectations and goals and you don’t have to “see” what they are working on to know if did what they were supposed to do. that’s just bad management.

I don’t think that monitoring everyone’s work, what they are working on and where they are working from is appropriate. This will only cause resentment to those employees that do their work and most importantly managers will abuse it for their own agendas. The only employees that should be monitored are those who do not produce but that is unlikely to happen. If this was implemented the efficient employees would suffer along with the inefficient. That is the way the government manages. As a final note, successful telework is based on productivity, it should not matter from where you are working as long as the work gets done nor should it matter when you work as long as you are available during basic core hours of 9AM to 3PM.

Most of this is already in place

[AGENCY] has great technology. The monitoring issue goes back to a culture issue. Managers need to be results oriented. Does it matter if I’m reading a document or typing in email? Are you monitoring the “in office” people? How do managers monitor “chit chat” in the office?

It seems unproductive to devote time and resources to monitoring teleworkers when you should be able to see the tasks,quality of tasks, and finished products of their duties. If they are not producing, then it is time to have a talk. I know many people who do not telework because they can go into the office and goof off so they refuse to telework. But teleworkers are held to a higher standard. There is an old saying” Yes, he’s working today, because I saw him.”

Monitor exactly what people are working and and when would not help. What makes it so successful is the sense of trust you have with your supervisor. If I felt like I were being micromanaged I would be very uncomfortable, and would no longer want to telework. I would feel like I couldn’t do things like review paper drawings b / c my manager might think I am not doing anything. Why does where I am working matter? The whole point of telework and what is being pushed is you can work ANYWHERE. Why does it matter if you are at home or at a library or a coffee shop as long as you are working and following the security procedures?

issue of trust here — we are adults

Specific online monitoring would make people very, very, resentful. Not all work is online!

What teleworkers are working on seems invasive and misleading depending on how people work. i.e. some people work in short highly focused bursts, other in slow steady rhythm. Who really cares so long as required results are being met. Why not poll co-workers about responsiveness and managers about outcomes.

the abuse is probably the same in the office as mobilely. Everyone has so many work commitments, that they are very productive. I know I work far more than 8 hours a day

We have easy access to files, so training to enhance comfort levels is the issue there … as well as with collaboration tools and videoconferencing. It’s not clear to me that providing ways to monitor where, when and on what teleworkers are working would not in fact serve to undermine the trust between teleworker and monitor / supervisor. I wouldn’t like it. I think we’re better encouraging organizations to establish individual norms by which they communicate – I update my location in google chat each morning, and I send a quick email to my team reminding that I’m teleworking when that’s the case. Yes, it would be nice if more colleagues consistently followed those norms … but I think there is a real degree of discomfort with “monitoring” via technology.

At [AGENCY] we are leaders in files access, collaboration and vendor contracting… the last three represents a slippery slope and cannot by law single out teleworkers… BUT… if established cross agency where all employees, e.g., upon log-on check or enter their work location site (COOP accountability value as well) that would be good. When? makes assumptions and valuations.. we have our base hours, core hours and when we are supposed to be working. If we use the PC activity… not good as many are in meetings, reading hard copy, phone calls and otherwise not “electronically engaged”. The same applies for “working on” unless the Agency goes to a time accounting system where each project has a code and the employee input their time similar to a law office.

The problem is treating teleworkers the same as nonteleworkers in the office.

We have a tool for this – MS Office Communicator / Lync

The last three would be so open to misuse by untrusting managers as to be detrimental to the effort. They could have a positive impact, but would have to very carefully crafted. I’d be very concerned about adopting them.

Monitoring teleworkers may work in the initial stages to assure managers of teleworker effectiveness, but ongoing monitoring will have a detrimental effect due to its intrusion and lack of privacy. Results-based measures should be sufficient for most teleworkers.

not sure what kind of vendors are being referenced here, presuming vendors for telework technology, etc.

Already have good access to files, collab. tools, so no need to improve.

I’m troubled by the two statements, “Provide a way to monitor where teleworkers are working” and “Provide a way to monitor when teleworkers are working.” Managers shouldn’t care where or when employees are working. All they should care about is the quality of their deliverable, if the deliverable was provided on time and if they are able to be reached during operational hours. RE18. To what extent do your plans for office space changes include input from HR, Training, Sustainability, IT, Press / PR? (MC) Not at all, Slight, Moderate, Great

If our training and culture areas remain low priority for funding we will lose countless opportunities and continue to fall behind where we were once leading the pack.

We need to treat telework, etc. as a fact of life and something to get used to. Our agency seems to feel there are major psychological barriers that need to be addressed.

HR must lead teh effor tot drive teh employee change managment and ensure we are recruiting the right type of person to work in a mobile environment, IT must provide the tools. Real estate is teh last requirement, not the first. RE19. To what extent has shared-space (offices rented by hour / day / week, etc) figured into your plans?
We need to address this within our own inventory to drive utilization rates. I.e., we won’t be able to drive max utilization rates due to peaks but when additional space is available for other federal workers from other agencies we should make it available. This is practiced on a low volume basis now, but hasn’t been included as a trade off for permanent space redux

concept only at this point

This is an issue that is being discussed. It has been raised with [AGENCY] who is strucggling iwthteh concept due to authoritiies adn funding streams. Space as a Service needs to be pursued. This could be the [AGENCY] savior if they can find a way to do it.

22. To what extent do you feel each of the following standardization initiatives would impact the success of your organization’s telework program? (MC)
Choices: Establish standards for measuring / reporting agency telework results, Have OPM collect and share best practices/templates for union telework agreements, Have OPM establish specific, measurable government-wide telework program goals, Standardize policies for what telework-related costs employees and/or employers are expected to cover, Have OPM establish standard templates with mandatory/optional elements for telework policies and agreements, Standardize guidelines for employee use of personally-owned technology (BYOD) Ratings: Unlikely to make a difference, Might make a difference, Likely to help, Would definitely help

I’m concerned that having OPM standardize policies for telework costs might have an unintended consequence of diminishing support for telework, particularly if agencies perceive that supporting telework may cost more than it currently does. Two areas I’d like to see OPM work on are clarification of telework usage during emergency situations and costs related to travel for full-time teleworkers (probably a collaborative effort with other federal agencies).

The OPM Guidelines are ‘weak’ and ‘vague’, at best.

I think it is great to have a set of baselines to help make sure the same information is being shared among agencies, however, too many guidelines may end up hurting the success of telework depending on the agency. Each agency has a different way they work. Allowing them to create baselines that will work for them will only make the teleworking more successful.

Innovation can be eliminated by too heavy a hand. Work should be what you do, not where you are.

too much policies and procedures cause one not to use telework — why….. too much “red tape”

Again, [AGENCY] has implemented many of these initiatives with success.

I would love to see a definition of costs employees vs. employers and a budget for supporting BYOD purchases. I HATE my [AGENCY]-provided computer. I often log in with my own device if I’m not using webex or something else which requires VPN.

Establishment of a standardized telework agreement would definitely help – we struggle with capture of telework in our system. But I think there are likely to remain realistic differences between agencies in regard to technology costs, BYOD, etc. But I love the idea of BYOD – my agency laptop is TOO HEAVY!

You ore outside your lanes on some of these. Goals – cool but if you interfere with Agency goals- you loose; templates – good idea but what makes OPM the expert on a good telework program?; best practices – great idea, it will shake up some agencies and force action. telework related costs – not yur area to interfere with Agency budgeting practices. This could back-fire especially with the constrained budgets already in place. standards for measuring – good idea but you are already doing this and it is not forcing a tipping point. BYOD – again not your lane to interfere with IT security and records / file management. PUSH Sustainability goals that force management decisions… DRACO was not all bad!

OPM needs to issue the updated guidance on the tough issues that have been raised to date and change its closure procedures guidance / policy to not allow excused absence for nonteleworkers and those on scheduled leave. Thus, employees will be motivated to have at least situational agreements in place and telework or have to take leave if they don’t work so all employees are treated equitably. The latter is the singel biggest way to improve the closure problem among and within agencies.

BYOD is the biggest technical issue.

I worry about OPM setting standards like BYOD and telework cost reimbursements. This is best left to the Agencies and subagencies, unless OPM wants to fund their mandate as well fund the infrastructure to achieve their mandate. Not sure we need that kind of help.

I think bureaus like flexibility in policies and guidelines because offices can be so different, but they like tools like templates and guidelines, yet balk at specific measurables. [AGENCY] has a standard agreement.

For the last option on the list, this is a tough question because even with the guidelines, this also becomes a budget issue for the agency’s implementing the guidelines. They have to budget for the IT support and requests for devices (even if we are calling it BYOD).

All this is great and of course would help. The challenge is that it’s about culture and not process. All this seems to be very process driven. Establish this policy and / or goal, etc… OPM should start having conversations with senior government leaders about “what the future government workforce looks like” In answering that question, mobility, trust, performance based will all emerge as defaults. The government hires contractors and doesn’t care about when or where they work, the trick is how can the government retain that talent and set a culture that reflects the culture of the consultancies we hire. In essence, the government ends up paying for their culture rather than creating it internally.

23. To what extent do you feel each of the following initiatives would impact the success of your organization’s telework program? (MC)

Choices: Part of manager’s performance goals Allow agencies to use telework savings, Part of agency performance goals, Financial incentives, Recognition/rewards, Sanctions Ratings: Unlikely to make a difference, Might make a difference, Likely to help, Would definitely help

If part of a goal, it might lead to abuse

Would seem like agencies already have financial incentive if telework reduces cost. Some of the problem might be savings is long-term and requires up-front investment in IT.

Agencies can already use telework savings…

If an employee is a worker they will work. If managers trusts employees this works. If manager does not manager must telework to learn to trust people.

I am repeating myself but teleworkers are held to a higher standard than those who go into the office. They can be away from their desk but as long as they are “at work” they are golden. The teleworker must leap over tall buildings to be acceptable.

Again, is the goal to increase the number of employees teleworking, or is to telework correctly by ensuring there is no loss of productivity, etc

What is discouraging is seeing NO ACTION taken about non-performing staff, whether teleworking or not.

This office embraces telework and it is part of the culture.

I don’t think I understand what you’re getting at with some of these issues. Sorry.

Depending on the Agency, savings may or may not be able to be plowed back into the core mission so be careful. making workforce mobility and related savings part of the agency / manager / SES performance plan will work but again, it can easily backfire by having 1 or 2 employees being designated as full time teleworkers and that serves to cover perhaps 4 people who would not be allowed to telework. Also, legal may want to weigh-in on disparate treatment of teleworkers and non-teleworkers in this area… do what ever you do to everyone…

We had a recognition award for worklife programs that addressed telework in the early 2000 era that was beneficial (it helped that then Secretary [NAME] supported worklife programs and the Council of Government’s telework goals). We have since achieved those goals.

We have the Television Awards already.

The problem with calculating savings, is unless its reduced space (totally vacated), how do you estimate the savings? Clearly lettering the organization who saves money share in the savings would be a great benefit…have seen it elsewhere (not with telework). We already have Agency goals through 2020. If we did not, we certainly would benefit from having them. I don’t like the idea of sanctions only because Congress thinks that’s the way to get performance instead of using incentives – prefer incentives (if you exceed your goal by X, you get Y).

I think it is part of performance goals for managers.

Definitely advocate for the carrot approach. I think the stick approach would lead to a false adoption of the practice and then the concept loses the feeling that it is a benefit. RE21. To what extent do you think it would help if agencies were required to establish and report telework results as per person real estate costs? (MC) Unlikely to make a difference, Might make a difference, Likely to help, Would definitely help

Lets face it, many are adept at finding ways to “spin” their results to make it look good, or not change the status quo.

Unfair unless employees can report their personal costs to house Agency work

Great–thanks for suggesting we spend even more time collecting data and reporting it instead of actually doing our primary mission.

We don’t need more reports and OMB can’t get agencies to report their overall O / m cost per facility let alone the per person cost. How many people are assigned to a building is illusive and major security issues will prevent this at the facility level – aggregate might work but there are currently too many variables and potential misuses of this information to make anyone agree with it. How would congress misuse this information?

Would drive quicker migration to the concept. You get what you measure…so start truly measuring for mobility efficiencies.

Another unfunded data call that would take a great deal of time to come up with.

I believe each agency should report their square footage per FTE along with real estate costs per FTE. This was tried in the FRPP but determined too hard to do. It requires OPM to push more on agencies in recording where people are working and when.

What are we trying to accomplish with this metric? Telework or drive down real estate-this is not a useful metric

While this is one good measure, it has the potential to drive the focus to real estate alone. Without the focus on mission and the people, the efforts will fail. RE22. What do you think would be the most effective way to increase telework in your agency. Why?

It would have to start with the agency’s leader. Without a firm and determined leader then it cannot be embraced, and the technology solutions would not get funded.

Change policy to three or more days per week and provide better technology to work from home

I don’t presume that increasing telework is inherently good and fail to grasp why this survey does. The notion that we should forgo the efficiency and effectiveness of an organization to save real estate or gas is flawed. There are SOME jobs where telework is an effective solution but the administration is bent on driving all managers to find a way to make it work regardless of impact and focusing on real estate savings is yet another example of the same.

Keeping it as a voluntary program has been a successful strategy.

We don’t want to increase telework. We want to increase productivity and mobility where it drives productivity. Telework is last century news, like the Pony Express.

Buy in at the top level of the organizations and communication.

He who rules the gold rules. OMB needs to continue insisting that agencies reduce their footprints to a standard set of utilization rates. OMB has been doing this for the about the last year and the results have been astounding.

We are fully engaged in telework.

Improve telecommunications. Provide incentives to individual managers.

We’re there. I would not seek to increase telework from our current levels.

Mandate the use throughout the Department and require annual reports as a part of STAT sessions to discuss with Senior Leadership the outcomes and lack of support for telework in areas where support / numbers are low. No one is held accountable for lack of support. It’s hard to save in the real estate market if we don’t mandate the use of telework and reduction of real estate as a result. Currently, the mandate is to reduce real estate. However, this can’t be done if people do not share offices.

Cut our real estate budget by 20%. Until agencies are forced to do something they won’t see the urgency.

Force Leadership to do it, otherwise it will not occur. Mandate a substantial reduction in the HQ space.

Push the focus to mission resilience and flexibility.

Additional administration mandates and requirements. RE23. What do you think would be the most effective way to increase telework in your agency. Why?”Case data not being on available on the network, and proprietary issues that might keep it from being placed on the network. If you get by those items, it means money to get the data on the network.

Old school “”attorney”” management and staff who believe they have to “”see”” staff to know they are working.”

see above



Leadership focus on minutia and missing great opportunities to reduce footprint by up front investment in change management, training, coaching and putting people first and footprint reduction second. Stop looking for a quick solution, this is after all our future. Mobility and productivity will follow nicely if properly introduced and vetted. In fact practice shows greater return from employee engagement up front. I fear we will see quick win approach to direct solutions, claim victory, politically move to next big crisis and the rest of government is stuck trying to live with the next priority while never addressing the real issues of increased productivity and mobility.”

Training to managers, implementing change, having in an environnment where folks may be fearful of losing their jobs

Some union and senior employee reluctance to accept a different way of working.

Better metrics to prove productivity successes.

There is a perception that there is no added value to the agency. Reductions in office space cannot usually be programmed based upon a voluntary program…although in a large office a certain percentage of teleworkers can be projected. It is not so with smaller offices.

Some supervisor reluctance. Still some IT issues.

The Union and IT connectivity.

From the management side there will be concerns on how responsible employees are. As telework becomes more of a vital tool for the agencies employees will possibly work with unions to change contracts to have agencies incur more of the individual’s costs relating to telework. They will ask for reimbursement of: cable, telephone, electricity, etc. This will raise costs especially since they are acquiring these items on a per person basis.

Culture, lack of IT capability at this time, need for research, access to data and data bases

Leaderships acceptance and understanding

Lack of understanding what “telelwork” really is, and what it take to be successfull. Also, a lack of realization how mobile teh workforce is already.

Management resistance

24. How do you feel telework is working in your agency? (MC)

Telework has gotten managers’ attention, but it is still causing a lot of growing pains. In the last two years, we have formal telework eligibility determinations in place for almost all our staff nationwide. For those who are eligible, we have telework agreements or a formal declaration to voluntarily opt out of participation in place. We now have a database that will track basic telework metrics related to eligibility and agreements, as well as commuting miles saved and whether the employee participates in the transit subsidy program. Our participation rate has increased from 7.5% to 17.5%. All those things represent progress, but we have a long way to go.

Program is working well but could be better with improved automation to help with paperwork.

We’ve had a telework program since 1996 and it continues to experience growth in participation.

Approximately 1 / 3 of our agency teleworks in a given week. It generally works well.

very well

We have met our goals for participation.

no metrics on quality, so if seems to be average and I assume some are taking advantage and not working much

very well, considering the culture

see other verbatim comments. [AGENCY] is very progressive with mobile work and we have the technology that enables us to mobile work effectively. you need the technology to make it work. you also need the consistent support from executive mgmt. I think it is working’ however, no one is addressing the ergonomics of it. for so long, designers stressed the importance of an ergonomically correct furniture and keyboard, etc, and now there is no mention of it. people telework from their dining room table, off of a laptop on their couch, etc, none of which are ergonomically correct. there were studies of how ergonomically incorrect furniture leads to fatigue, neck aches, back aches, etc. and yet none of this is discussed anywhere. I wonder if OPM is looking at the negative effects of this to workman’s comp claims.

Telework has been implemented within [AGENCY], but it is a poorly managed programme.

Very Well

Those who are doing is love it. As previously commented, management is challenged by the lack of control they have over employees schedules.

Widely embraced, but no one is accountable for getting the work done.

broadly practiced and accepted

It works well for those folks that are reliable, focused and do their work. Telework is not being implemented government wide nor agency wide in the way that it was intended.


Overall works quite well. However we’re not using telework / mobility to the full extent because a) management is still stuck in an outdated culture where they think being in the office sitting at a cubicle = results and b) 99% of positions and promotions are still geographically tied to a particular office location when most if not all could be accomplished from any [AGENCY] office or even completely virtual at the employees home.


Very well, only a few problems – electronic signatures, bulky online lease files, etc.

Need more emphasis on productivity.

I question whether we are more productive, but I believe that there is less absenteeism.

Seems to be working great, there is high level of support and high level of participation. Varies between managers though.

I can’t speak for the agency as a whole, but here in my area, I have noticed that employees like the flexibility of being able to work from home when needed. In fact I have heard rumors that some of our younger generation employees were thinking about leaving before the idea around telework and the acceptance of it took off. The ability to work from anyplace, anywhere, anytime is a huge perk. Not only does it allow for flexibility, but it says to an employee that “we trust you to get your work done”.

It works well for those who care about their jobs but is abused frequently.

Overall teleworking is working well. Employees are able to achieve a greater level of work / life balance. THis helps reduce stress and gives employees increased flexibilities not generally available.

It works well.


we have been teleworking for several years. It is working

Pretty good.

I feel like it is a success story for our agency. We are moving in 2 years to a new lease location and are reducing footprint and the number workstations by utilizing a combination of telework and desk sharing. You hear a lot about work-life balance in the government, and without telework what other programs are there? I know there are a few, but not that many that people actually use.

As stated several times, we need to mature as an agency to consistently manage employees by performance based outcomes. We don’t. Therefore I would bet our productivity has declined. Monday and Friday’s are almost silent…hhmm. Why should those days be any different than the rest of the week. People still decline meetings because they work at home, no rules on what the environment at home should be. I’m on calls all the time where I hear screaming kids. Telework is an incredible way to do work that provides both the individual and the government (and taxpayer) great savings. It needs to be managed better. It seems the goal is number of employees teleworking vs really looking at our productivity, etc

our agency excels at telework

Too early to tell

Great. It is widely accepted and practiced in [AGENCY].

Yes, [AGENCY] is leading and it has really helped my work life balance. Since I work mostly with stakeholders in different agencies / geographical locations I would be remotely meeting with them anyway. 1-2 days / week in the office is enough so far to maintain ties with my organization. Other folks might legitimately feel differently.


[AGENCY] is the Federal Leader in telework. We’re taking huge steps to test and innovate Telework – the new workplace in the Federal space. It’s working very , very well at [AGENCY].

well for the most part, it varies by department and division

Fairly well.


those of us who telework regularly bear the brunt of every technology idea that isn’t deployed properly (we discover it when the VPN doesn’t work or the softphone software is incompatible with something). We also bear the brunt of non-teleworkers who don’t know how to set up a teleconference, use google to share documents, or can’t speak into the speaker of a phone during a teleconference. I am happy to work flexibly, but what makes that work is invisible to those who don’t telework. The idea that if ONE of the team teleworks, EVERYONE does is not well understood in my work group – and many many of us telework.

very well

It is highly successful and quantifiable as the benefits that have been achieved.

It is gradually increasing.

as long as there is leeway to designate people as too important to telework, security agencies will always use that loophole simply to avoid change.

I feel that it working, but there is still a lot of resistance from managment perspective. A lot of managers tend to feel safeter when they actually see the employee at the office. They focus on when I see the employee, I know he / she are at work

we are reaching a tipping point but obviously other agencies are not as far along1

Great! The office is predominately staffed with [type job] and [type job]. Both occupations have a long history of teleworking. [Profession] have traditionally traveled to an offsite for several weeks or months to conduct and audit and the same with investigators. These people were not in an office often. Now they can write their reports from home while using collaborative technology to share with co-workers.

Very well. It’s not perfect, but the tool is being used effectively and we continue to grow in this area.

Overall, the agency regularly participates in telework. However, we need to continue to train and equip our managers in making decisions about telework, notifying employees of their eligibility and how to effectively manage employees while teleworking.

Well but it is a strategic imperative to meet our mission requirements for us and government at-large

For non-secured / classified work, generally good with a 28% participation rate of the total workforce, and I expect to have about a 90% eligibility rate as of the end of this FY. The big problem is getting employees to telework during closures – it varies dramatically among organizations who don’t use classified information / systems.

Fairly well

Not too well. Not much management support.

The majority of the staff is on board with at least a situational agreement.

Works well in groups that have good supervisor support

Its about B, could be an A if the new Secretary will make a public endorsement of telework and ask to see metrics on a recurring basis.

Fine, [AGENCY] results are extremely positive. Want to increase to twice a week.

Not consistent use of policy among organizations

It’s just beginning but the director is behind the movement.

Well. We have gone from virtually no telework three years ago to approximately 12% of employees teleworking at least 2 days per pay period. We have a long way to go.

Very well. All are given the tools to telework and great latitude with manager on how often.

I feel [AGENCY] is on the cutting edge of telework in our policies and training, however, the culture is still adopting. We are probably following the standard change adoption curve in regards employee adoption. Our motto of “Work is what you do, not where you do it,” has been very helpful in setting the tone regarding telework and mobility. More importantly, we can link telework to our core mission of servicing other agencies with their real-estate reduction and cloud computing goals. Employees at [AGENCY] understand that [AGENCY] has to “Go First” so that other agencies have the courage to implement the policies necessary to meet government-wide goals. It’s a good pull metric for our internal changes.

25. What strategies or initiatives do you think would most contribute to the success of telework in your agency? Why?
“We need a good technology infrastructure in place. In the last two years, our CIO has made progress, but again, there is a ways to go. Many employees are still working on desktop computers, rather than laptops. The infrastructure in many of our field locations is outdated. We need more widespread availability of current communication and collaboration tools and training in how to use them.

Managers need performance management, communications, and team building training targeted at managing a virtual workforce. Teleworkers need training in planning telework time and using communication and collaboration technologies to keep them connected.”

More of a push or guidance from upper management.

Having a full-time Telework Management Officer with single focus on telework and improvement.

Integrate tolls for “managing a flexible workforce” into all supervisory and leadership training.

more training for supervisors

leadership support

technology is key. I do think you need to look at mobile work along with how your workspace is designed. if you are going to incorporate mobile work into your organization, not everyone needs their own designated space. that is a waste of real property. you need to go to desk sharing, hoteling, etc. and this doesn’t work for every position type. I think if an organization, like [AGENCY], is going to allow virtual employees, they have to allow people to mobile work 100% of the time — and I mean mobile work, not telework from their home. if an agency allows employees to work anywhere in the country, then why should an employee have to work from their home versus another location.

Teleworking should be results-based driven and the work product should be measurable, and it really is not.

Agency leadership commitment

More education / conversations about it.

training and IT support

Managers would be more inclined to support telework if the agency was allowed to utilize cost savings realized from telework on other agency projects. In these economic times, this would definitely provide an incentive for managers because it would give them funds for their pet projects.

Top down mandate requiring telework, and substantial reduction of office space goals / requirements. i.e. require the agency to reduce office space 10-15% every year, make agencies justify the cost of a cubicle / workstation for every employee when 1 workstation could easily serve 3 or more mobile employees. Dictate that every position is 100% telework eligible, unless management can justify why it isn’t (as opposed to the cumbersome process that currently exists to make a position 100% telework eligible) , finally hold low level managers accountable for results.

Stop defining telework so narrowly.

We are already very successful.

Move towards a results-oriented work environment.

Better remote access to files. At times it takes too long or is too difficult to download files.

Team based strategies…meet in office on a certain day, keep your personal on-line calendar up to date so anyone on your team can tell where you are and what you’re doing.

Going back to the beginning of this survey – holding employees and managers accountable. There are guidelines out there explaining the baselines for our agency and what we can and can’t do, but it really doesn’t get into the heads of a manager what you can expect or as an employee what you can expect. I know across [AGENCY], we have had telework training and within my area we have created additional training and are holding focus groups to get more feedback on what tools we can provide.

Communicating from senior management to all levels including employees.

Some employees are not comfortable with how to work from home. In other words, they have never signed on through VPN from home, or tried to open documents or host a Webex meeting. If each agency had a “test office” where employees could bring their laptop and have a systems person there to walk them through what to do – it might help.

managers teleworking- even if forced too. Like all managers must telework on every monday for 6 months

I think we are successful because we have the right equipment and programs, and IT support.

Performance based work plans to ensure employees are doing what they need to be doing. I truly think we are not getting full hours out of our employees.

support of leadership and IT

Clear, common goals and objectives.

Push beyond the one day a week goal.

Sharing some of the cost of home expenses and supporting BYOD. The agency and I both save now, but that would provide some additional incentive if my home office were as ergonomic and comfortable. Also, for those who don’t have the space for a home office, being able to support the costs of a nearby temp office.

Limiting it to one or two days a week. I think we’ll find that (given the work that we do at [AGENCY]), teleworking 3-5 days a week will negatively impact productivity, culture and team cohesiveness.

“We need to address Government-issued home printers, paper, headsets and cell phones. Shifting costs to federal workers without acknowledging the shift leads to a real change management barrier.

We also need to address the need for some federal workers to have a secure environment on-site to work on PII (personally identifiable information) and other sensitive data – – this will be a significant issue agencies such as [AGENCY] who do not distinguish ‘privacy workers’ in their hoteling space in open buildings.”

not over thinking it, just doing it

Better technology for accessing shared files.

training and strong leadership support

Creation of a highly visible Executive supported organization that encompasses all aspects necessary to create a successful Telework program.

mandating that everyone must telework sometimes.

Developing stronger performance indicators for managers, top-down. This would include training managers to focus on performance outcomes rather than the actual physical presence of employees at their desk.

Being able to use savings

As I said this office has been teleworking for a long time. Many of the barriers that other agencies are facing have already been met and dealt with. When the Telework Act became law, this office already issued lap tops to all employees and many employees already used WebEx and GoToMeeting to collaborate. Supervisors and Managers had experience with telework and often supervised employees assigned to a different geographic area.

Employees and supervisors are often looking for very specific policy guidance … sometimes appropriately, and sometimes to “mandate” issues that are really about their relationship with each other and their team. We link performance management and communication training with telework training and over time I think this will lead to greater overall understanding, cooperation, and collaboration, and greater comfort with telework.

Most recently, an article on Telework has been negotiated / added to the agencies Master Labor Agreement. It seems this has brought additional awareness to the agency’s policy and guidelines on Telework, The Telework Enhancement Act, etc.

raise the sustainability stakes…..

We need to be able to perform classified work remotely during closures. With virtual desktop capability, I believe that it shoudl be happening, but it hasn’t.

Having better IT equipment.

BYOD with reimbursements to teleworkers. Would provide an incentive.

It is being pushed down and encouraged from the head of the agency at an SES level

Executive management support

See 24

More technology and funding for it. More OPM guidance on telework goals.

Used strictly as management tool, with employee engagement, however, not used to change the nature of the work or make a job specific to one employeees, especially if six or more people are on it.

Support from the top is always the best way to go because you have backing rather than a grass-root effort that can be blown away at any time.

I like the idea of Manager reviews being tied to achieving telework goals.LEADERSHIP: Launching a telework PMO right after the signing of the Telework Enhancement Act was critical. The PMO pulled together telework experts from within [AGENCY] and paired them with change agents who reported directly to the agencies top leader, the Administrator. This allowed the PMO to cut across the various silos, such as HR for policies and CIO for mobile technologies. It also allowed the Administrator to lead by example and demonstrate that this is a series initiative.

CHANGE MANAGEMENT: Having strong focus on Change Management was critical to the process. It wasn’t simply about putting out a new policy, but hosting a series of team based and virtual conversation with managers and then with employees about the policy and it’s changes was critical. <![if !supportLists]>26. What do you see as barriers to telework success at your agency? (MC)
the key barriers I see are management resistance and an outdated and unintegrated technology infrastructure.

There are no barriers. The program is successful but could be more successful with a little more direcetion for agency management.

Managers who are reluctant to allow employees to telework.

Telework lays bare poorly developed performance plans that rely on activity monitoring rather than performance results. Implementing telework often requires major reforms in how those areas look at and evaluate the work being performed. This is not easy for them and it would behoove OPM’s telework office to collaborate with its performance management office on this aspect of telework.

supervisor / manager attitudes

Need to use classified systems, lack of cultural buy in, need for more supervisory training.


lack of being able to measure productivity, productivity decreasing significantly

our agency must address the virtual employee situation. we are starting to but it has been around for so long without any real policies or justifications for allowing it that it will take a while to fix it.

Technological barriers and resistance of managers.

Lack of clear guidance to supervisors


differences in management support

The management or lack there of.

old fashion managers

low level managers


“Electronic signatures (went from Adobe to Nuance, and Nuance doesn’t work)

Digitizing old lease files”

Manager resistance. Need for in-person, brainstorming meetings. Everyone’s varying schedules.

None really.

security, old paper based procedures, management, culture change.

Lack of technology and the lack of information sharing – whether that be bouncing questions off one another or sharing success stories. I would also say another barrier are those managers who don’t full support telework and “make up” their own rules on who can telework (when, and why) instead of going with the norm of what the agency / area has in place.

Abuse by some.

Organizational culture and a lack of trust of managers and employees.

Management not being focused on performance based results. Also, we need a communication outlet. I’m not in the office, so I don’t see that “Sally” is pregnant or “Joe” is on crutches. We need to have more verbal / written communication on what’s happening with people so we don’t lose “connections”. That’s one of the biggest barriers – how do people stay connected?

attittude of business as usual. Workers work, get rid of the workers that do not.

internal face to face meetings with project teams

Easily accessibly video and audio conferencing options would be great. Each manager seems to have their own expectations, if they were all on the same page that would be very helpful.

technology is still slow, hard to get to files, continuous taking equipment back and forth, poor VTC, poor softphone capability,

without IT infrastructure – mobile work does not work


Risk of losing a dedicated workspace.

Mostly middle management support, though that is fast changing.


The biggest barrier to successful telework at [AGENCY] is the on-site environment. We are rapidly moving to a block-n-stack open building environment. We will be booking our seating regularly – no reserved spaces. The expectation is that the building will be at or near capacity. If office conditions are not conducive to effective work processes, staff will telework more, moving many positions toward 100% virtual. Not sure this is the optimal situation.

technology, cultural change, Mgt not allowing it as often as they could, having “mandatory” office days

When too many people are teleworking, it’s difficult to collaborate.

middle management implementation


Managements fear of not having face-to-face contact with their employees.

managers who think they need to be able to see and bark at people in person; people who think that face time at meetings is more critical than participation, even if virtual. no training at all. IT chooses priorities based on what they want to build–not what users need.

I.T. infrastructure, and administration cultural barriers within the Department.

managers who are living in the mid 1980’s and who plan for the present and not the future. I also think that unions are uninformed about what would make workers happy and productive. Their yardstick has always been how big your workstation is. That is preposterous in this day and age. Young people think it laughable, and it would be funny if it were not so expensive to the waitresses and the construction workers who fund these anacronisms.

Some supervisors still want a great amount of detail as to how teleworkers spent their day and what they accomplished. They don’t ask the employees that work in the office about daily accomplishments.

On a case-by-case basis, we still encounter the resistance issue. I’d say that continues to be the biggest single issue in regard to the negative affect on individual employees.

Agency culture / management resistance.

Technology is our biggest barrier, followed by management resistance and organizational culture.

the word telework to start. It allows managers to deflect the real issues at hand, poor management practices, poor performance planning, poor performance monitoring practices / skills, poor communications skills, poor feedback practices…..

Our classified systems and not having enough access during closures to accommodate all employees who have agreements, but the biggest problem is resolvable by OPM – don’t allow excused absences during closures – an employee either works or takes leave. Those who work on classified systems will need to perform unclassified work as much as possible, including their required training that they complain takes too much time.

Career progression worries from employees – if people don’t see you on site they forget you’re existence.

Management resistance and lack of incentive.

Managers’ resistance to change. Managers’ treating it like a carrot dangle and take away at will.


Secretary support. Supervisor comfort with managing a virtual workforce. Need for use of personally owned equipment.

Lack of funds for technology for videoconferencing and VPN. Use Citrix but not robust enough.

Lack of cooperation

None in CDER–Full Steam Ahead!

Manager reluctance.

Mid-level management, desire for in-person interactions.I think the biggest barrier is a misunderstanding of who the government workforce is and how to manage them. The government needs knowledge workers, but is not willing to set policies or build a culture that welcomes them into career service. Rather, the government hires the knowledge work via consulting firms at double to triple the cost. The barrier is that the government is more comfortable developing policies for the lowest performer rather than for high performers and therefore telework is seen as special treatment rather than the norm.

I think another challenge is that managers are accountable for their employees and if they have low performing employees it’s too complex to remove them. Since the manager is accountable for that employee and they know they would’t produce in or out of the office, the only tool they have for being accountable for their salary is to manage their hours via by line of sight. “Yes, that employee was here at work for 8 hours.” RE23. What do you see as barriers to telework success at your agency? (MC)
“Case data not being on available on the network, and proprietary issues that might keep it from being placed on the network. If you get by those items, it means money to get the data on the network.

Old school “”attorney”” management and staff who believe they have to “”see”” staff to know they are working.”

see above

N / A


Leadership focus on minutia and missing great opportunities to reduce footprint by up front investment in change management, training, coaching and putting people first and footprint reduction second. Stop looking for a quick solution, this is after all our future. Mobility and productivity will follow nicely if properly introduced and vetted. In fact practice shows greater return from employee engagement up front. I fear we will see quick win approach to direct solutions, claim victory, politically move to next big crisis and the rest of government is stuck trying to live with the next priority while never addressing the real issues of increased productivity and mobility.”

Training to managers, implementing change, having in an environnment where folks may be fearful of losing their jobs

Some union and senior employee reluctance to accept a different way of working.

Better metrics to prove productivity successes.

There is a perception that there is no added value to the agency. Reductions in office space cannot usually be programmed based upon a voluntary program…although in a large office a certain percentage of teleworkers can be projected. It is not so with smaller offices.

Some supervisor reluctance. Still some IT issues.

The Union and IT connectivity.

From the management side there will be concerns on how responsible employees are. As telework becomes more of a vital tool for the agencies employees will possibly work with unions to change contracts to have agencies incur more of the individual’s costs relating to telework. They will ask for reimbursement of: cable, telephone, electricity, etc. This will raise costs especially since they are acquiring these items on a per person basis.

Culture, lack of IT capability at this time, need for research, access to data and data bases

Leaderships acceptance and understanding

Lack of understanding what “telelwork” really is, and what it take to be successfull. Also, a lack of realization how mobile teh workforce is already.

Management resistance <![if !supportLists]>27. Do you sense that any of the oft-cited obstacles to telework are more perceived than real? If so, in what way? (MC)
Yes. The key one is that teleworkers are sitting at home watching TV and eating bonbons when they are supposed to be (tele)working. Despite the numerous studies that cite level or increased productivity among teleworkers, this is a persistent obstacle. We also have complaints from customers that they are unable to reach teleworkers when they are teleworking. Some of that is real and could be solved with teleworker training and management communication with their teleworkers. Some of it comes from a culture that has created expectations of constant and instantaneous contact 24 / 7.

no comments

Yes. Manager reluctance is real but the oft-cited reasons for that reluctance are not. Government is a highly risk-averse culture and telework requires substantial changes in how it looks at and evaluates work in a telework environment. Very little is being done to support managers in this area or to integrate performance management and telework.


lots of different skill levels in technology

there real


N / A.

Telework oft-cited obstacles are real and must be addressed, such as technology, technology training, cultural barriers, personal work environment and work habits. The more agency employees telework, the more these obstacles are problematic and must be successfully addressed.

Perceived. Most colleagues I work with are professionals & are skilled in their area of work. They want to do a good job & don’t cheat the system.

I do not know

Yes, because the problem is not with telework it is with the lack of management and / or the caliber of the management.

technology and trust. a) technology, at [AGENCY] we have the ability to do just about any job from anywhere with an internet connection, yet people still claim the we lack the technology to telework all the time, b) low level managers aren’t comfortable giving up control, or as I call it, the babysitting routine and focus too much on where an employee is at, rather than what an employee is actually accomplishing.

What are they: we have none except employees and managers with poor work habits and poor performance.

It depends on what obstacle you are talking about. I’m sure some are perceived and some are very real…

Technology and Security have never been a problem for me teleworking. Those are more perceived than real in my experience.

I do. I think any kind of change no matter how small or how large can impact a persons overall thinking and willingness to try something new. Probably the biggest obstacle is not knowing if your employee is really working when you can’t see them. This is where the idea around accountability comes into play. Knowing that your employee is being held accountable, as a manager, you know the work will be completed. Additionally, you will see the work is being done. One thing as a manager is to remember, how do you know that work is being completed even when you are “watching” your employee?


Not sure.

Yes. One of the biggest issues I’ve heard is that teleworkers are not reachable. If that’s the case, then there’s a real problem. Other than when I’m at lunch or in the restroom – I’m always reachable on chat. More than likely, the issue is that employee X wasn’t reachable in the office so the manager doesn’t want employee X teleworking. Wake up manager – make employee X accountable in the office. Managers need to stop using telework (or not allowing telework) as a punishment because they aren’t managing their employees.

The notion that “nothing will get done” – our employees have a good sense of responsibility and integrity. Instances of telework abuse are very rare, and they have been addressed and dealt with accordingly.

We still have supervisors that think a “butt” in the seat is the way to manage vs performance based outcomes.

Yes – trust your employee to get their work done without boundaries and boxes

No, feel that the technology-related problems are real, do exist, and are ignored.


Yes, we had a survey of occupants which showed folks who had tried telework were 3X less likely to feel there were “significant” impediments than folks who had never tried.

[AGENCY] is a government-wide leader in telework. We have a new, robust, fair policy – and the technology and leadership support to back it up.

As [AGENCY] is in the the fore front of telework and workplace innovation, we’ll need to experience the new hoteling and block n stack environment to know whether the obstacles are real or perceived. The hassle factor in booking seats every week, picking up all belongings, having little to no storage – are real.. in addition, federal worked are not authorized to maintain PII information in their homes. So, the paradigm shift has real obstacles .. most are workable, but not all are being acknowledged or addressed.

I think most of the obstacles, with exception to technology issues, are perceived obstacles

yes. many obstacles noted tend to be more myth and folklore with limited, if any, specific examples.

No,they are real in other agencies, culture, lack of appropriate technology, training needed, policy lacking, executive support is lacking, the ability to secure the technology assets, paper work-flows, lack of system access to resources.

people claim they need training how to telework, they don’t, they need to be forced to manage people–well.

I think they are more perceived than real because of the lack of control of the type of activities employees may engage in while working “at home”. As look as the employee meets his / her performance objectives, and meet the required work objectives and the end of his / her tour of duty for the day, why the concern over what type of daily life activities the employee may be accomplishing in the home environment.

Definitely perceived. I do think it is not for everybody and and every job. It should be presented neither as a punishment or as a perk. It is a way to do the nations business

Trust is a big issue but as time goes on supervisors and managers become more comfortable with measuring results.

The manager resistance issue. We are finding ways around IT issues very quickly.


Telework does not cause management issues, it reveals management issues. But, there are some issues that are real… the first goal / responsibility is to deliver the performance plan and meet mission and customer requirements.

The trust issue is both. I’ve found that those supervisors who don;t trust teleworkers are those that don’t adequately suypervise those employees while in the office so they want to treat them differently. We’ve tried to address this issue on an ongoing basis.

Yes – the structures, hierarchies, and business processes of government are not conducive to teleworking even though the will from employees and managers is there.

Real – management resistance is a reality. That is the only remaining obstacle. Technology is no longer an issue.

Most of the obstacles are not based on fact. The myth that workers may not work as hard is absolutely unsubstantiated. Most teleworkers work longer and harder.

IT security issues. Happy to explain on phone call.

Managers have come around for the most part, but as a small agency we lack funding.

No, these are for real.There is no equility in its use; some employees such as the Stafford Act employees are not allowed to telework.

Yes. I still feel managers believe managers need to be in the office. Moreover, there are probably some Offices with [SUB-AGENCY] that feel the same about employees they manage.

Once managers move to a results-oriented measure instead of “they’re at their desk, they must be working,” we see that mindset pave the way to acceptance.

I think many of the obstacles are real, however, I believe virtual employees can still have the same degree of presence as in-office employees. If the team understands that if one person on the team is mobile, then the entire team is mobile. Technology allows for real world virtual presence <![if !supportLists]>28. Do you have any other thoughts or ideas you would like to share about telework? (MC)
OPM and other policy-makers should be spending much more time in the field learning about how federal work in general, and telework in particular, is actually used and practiced. Sometimes there’s a disconnect between what they think is happening and what really happens. I’ve been on calls with policy-types in DC who are presented with a problem or an issue and they can’t get beyond how things are “supposed” to happen. I’m tired of saying, “Welcome to the real world, buddy. Your policy didn’t survive contact with people. Their capacity to do things you didn’t anticipate has no limits.” For example, OPM gave agencies tremendous authority to require employees to telework in a COOP situation in one sentence of its guidelines and, in the very next sentence, made that authority subject to bargaining agreement with the union. That made it impossible to implement in our agency because the unions were not willing to agree to this without substantial management concessions in other areas.

Even as a strong telework supporter, I think there is value in scheduled and unscheduled meetings face to face. As a manager, I am aware that my staff needs not only time to telework, but also to feel that the time we spend together as a team is worth it. I want to use telework as a way to improve the dialog that happens between supervisors and employees, the way they plan and work together.

tremendously beneficial to both employee and taxpayer, but we’re at a point where agency mission is being compromised, due to decrease in performance.

I think I said enough. It is obvious that technology is allowing us to work differently and is in essence driving this not the other way around. so if an organization doesn’t have the technology, it can’t be successful. furthermore, the manager who thinks you have to “see” the person to know they are working is a thing of the past and they need to get over it. I do think that telework or mobile needs to be looked at in conjunction with the design of the workspace. having a traditional office setting and incorporating telework without changing the office layout doesn’t make sense. it has to be done together which is in line with the Presidential EO of reducing the real property footprint.

Should make a clear distinction between the adoption rate of telework and the success of telework. If all government employees started telework, but the government as a whole was not more productive the initiative has failed.


Telework should be implemented very deliberately and in ways that contribute to productivity. It should be implemented from the bottom up with buy in from first line supervisors.

“Telework is a very good thing. It provides for the government with resource cost savings in space, utilities, supplies, etc. It also enables employees to have an improved quality of life, less stress, higher productivity due to higher concentration and fewer interruptions.

I wish that it could be fully implemented in the way that it was really intended by allowing employees to work from wherever and however often they choose as long as they are being productive.”

Focus needs to shift from “number of teleworkers” to the benefits of telework to the Government and ultimately the tax payer. Lower office foot print, lower energy costs, higher retention / lower turnover, etc…

“With a 3 year pay freeze, and a pay cut expected next year via furloughs, telework offers some transportation / dry cleaning savings to offset the pay cuts. I have 2 kids in college; it’s not a good time for a yearly decrease in pay (due to higher insurance premiums, then furloughs).

As far as telework actually working; I see greater productivity on days that I am teleworking, and decreased productivity on days when I am in the office, because everyone is trying to catch up on the latest news! But it all evens out in the end and the work gets done.”

Telework is a subset of mobility. It is the increasing mobility of the federal workforce which is driving much of what you ask not just telework.

Telework should remain a privilege not a right and should be earned then taken away if person is not performing until they can prove that are trustworthy to get their job done.

Telework is not for everyone.

We need clear guidelines on what a telework environment should be. Example- during a DC storm, our agency was closed, however the agency touted that due to telework, we managed to keep everyone working. Hhhmm, well if the office is closed, I’m guessing schools are closed. Not that I’m saying you can’t have a family environment that allows kids to be home and you still to be in a closed office and not having to supervise kids, but there needs to be a policy of expectations.


This is somewhat a slippery slope, I do think we are taking this too far and applying it too generally, but, I like the results for me so go for it…

“We should be careful to not overstate the benefits of teleworking.

–On the environment: We create carbon when working at home, which offsets (at least partially) the cars off the road.

–On space savings: It is only when we pair teleworking with desk-sharing and other workplace strategies that we can realize space savings.”

Having the option to telework either schedule or ad hoc, is a significant benefit. Federal workers can recognize this as a benefit – if we continue to recognize it as a benefit and a privilege, we’ll provide increased productivity in support of our agency’s mission.

I think the govt makes it harder to telework by creating obstacles of sorts, and over thinks it more then we should.

Teleworking is an issue of trust between a supervisor and her / his employee. The less trust there is, the less effective teleworking is.


Go to [AGENCY].gov Telework, all of the agency collateral is there for agency’s to use and leverage.

While I strongly support telework, I also recommend that OPM consider strategies for standardizing the length of time employees can telework in order to avoid / minimize the abuse of telework priviledges by employees as well as preventing the employees / unions from moving alternative workplace arrangements as a sense of entitlements.

I just want to know what we will do with all the empty office buildings.

Resources (i.e.training or a seminar) for managers in general as it relates to telework management are needed. Additionally, guidance in how managers can effectively handle a situation where an employee is NOT eligible to telework may be beneficial. Often I participate in training that speaks from the perspective or assumption that most employees are telework eligible. I believe that some managers may find it easier to tell everyone they are not eligible to telework, because it is easier than allowing some and then being required to justify to others why they cannot.

about a book’s worth…

The TEA needs to be updated to allow agencies to make travel payments / per diem discretionary. The requirement for a test project is too expensive and unattractive.

Would be nice to incentivize telework, automate telework agreements, and link to other initiatives.


None that I have not already addressed.

Women in positions that are eligible to telework, telework less because the policy indicates one can’t telework if small childfren are in the home.

Success builds upon success and that’s what we’re trying to do at [SUB-AGENCY] RE24. Do you have any other thoughts or ideas you would like to share about real estate and telework?
“There are some great examples of agencies who have embraced telework and made it work. They are the pied pipers, but I truly believe it would take a mandate of a partnership group created from the administration to get others to really listen to those who have done it in order for it to be embraced.

The only other way that might get attention, is if agency’s rent budgets were slashed in half, and they couldn’t use another pot of money to cover the costs. Then they would get serious about how to use telework to reduce real estate. Robbing Peter to pay Paul seems to be pervasive.”

Telework must focus on enhancing work outcomes, NOT reducing real estate

Telework is highly effective for tasks that are prodcution oriented (i.e. patent review) and highly ineffective where the tasks are focused on relationships. That seems to be irrelevant as we drive to find ways to save money and is a dangerous path.

Kill the word telework except for specific work from home issues. Keep congress out of it. Don’t let OMB drive it. Make it a grass roots effort and let it find its own course with best practices and no real end point… Advance new work practice with technology and people. Don’t forget this is all about people, not the space, not the savings, not the heads of agencies.

I recognize that historically companies have rewarded their best employees by giving them a private office i.e. hiding them from other junior employees until they gain access to their office. There has been an informal tutoring or mentoring opportunity lost by this practice. I am happy my superstars now sit in the open floor plans for all other employees to witness their work habits and finesse skills. Open floor plan or mobility spaces as defined by my agency have created some of the best training in the organization by just placing the good work examples in the same room with other employees.

We need to get away from the concept of requiring most employees to come into the office at all…and being able to work from anywhere in the country.

Makes sense. Great convenience for accommodating lifestyles. Positive impact on sustainability issues. Not an end in itself.

It would be very helpful if the [AGENCY] real estate office, in conjunction with OMB, mandated a per square footage usage rate. Currently, agencies are struggling with creating a square footage rate per person that is supported by ALL senior leadership. In addition, there needs to be a mandate that if an individual teleworks X number of days per week, they must use a hotel space or a shared desk / office space. Due to union agreements, this is very hard to do.

I believe OPM needs to work harder with agencies to mandate an understanding of where people are assigned and where they are working. This also needs to be worked with the CFO’s to develop some basic metrics to monitor the impact of telework and other workforce arrangements.

Real estate and telework are not necessarily connected. You are using one to drive th other as a means of cost reduction. However, you have just shifted costs to the individual. We can discuss more if you like.

Telework will work, however, it takes effort from managers and a level of trust that most managers at the US Marshals don’t have.

i think i already have: Mission first, the right people, training, change management, IT tools, then space (configured for the mission).I think the conversation on telework and mobility is important because it opens the door on other conversations the government is too afraid to have. For example, it forces conversation on: * Entitlement * Special treatment * Degree of Trust between managers and employees * Management through line of sight vs. outcomes * Identifying and communicating actionable outcomes