The Defense Logistics Agency has one of the highest percentages of teleworkers in the federal government, according to an Office of Personnel Management report to Congress that details the status of telework among federal agencies.
The report outlines data collected in OPM’s annual call for telework data and the 2011 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey. It is the first comprehensive report since President Barack Obama signed the Telework Enhancement Act in December 2010.
Of DLA’s almost 27,000 employees, 56 percent were eligible to telework, and 40 percent of those eligible were using the option in September 2011.
“Our high number of employees deemed eligible may be less significant due to variables in agencies’ missions and demographics. However, we have truly excellent marks for employees with agreements and those teleworking in September 2011,” said Teri Eriksen, of DLA Human Resources.
The majority of DLA employees who teleworked did so two or more days each pay period, while about 20 percent teleworked on a situational basis only.
“In DLA, we are fortunate to have historically considered all types of telework. In fact, we seem to have successfully turned a corner toward emergency preparedness by emphasizing the importance of practicing telework,” Eriksen added.
Telework has become a critical component of DLA’s continuity of operations plans because it helps the agency remain operational during a pandemic, hazardous weather or physical attacks that would otherwise result in the closure of government buildings, she continued.
The report also revealed that only 17 percent of the Defense Department’s employees were eligible to telework, and just 27 percent of those employees teleworked at the time of the survey.
According to OPM’s telework.gov website, the Telework Enactment Act was created to give leaders greater flexibility in managing their workforce while helping employees balance their work and home lives. The act requires employees to complete interactive training before signing a telework agreement. Data collected in the 2011 survey revealed that most agencies used Web-based training available on OPM’s telework website, while a few provided their own customized, in-person or Web-based training.
DLA previously relied on OPM’s Web-based training, which allow employees to print certificates as evidence of training. However, new training available in DLA’s Learning Management System now gives managers a better account of employees’ training, Eriksen said.
OPM Director John Barry said federal agencies’ use of telework is improving.
“Telework can make employees more efficient, more accountable and more resilient in emergency conditions, and this report shows signs that we are achieving those results,” he said in a director’s message at the beginning of the report.
OPM expects to launch a new automated data-collection system in September that makes tracking telework participation throughout the federal government easier and more accurate, Eriksen added.
“Through a combination of human resources and payroll system feeds, telework eligibility and participation data will be provided directly to OPM. The hope is that this will ensure more valid and reliable data,” she said.
DLA officials also rely on data collected during reoccurring culture and climate surveys to assess the agency’s telework program, which was launched in 2002.
“We use the results to analyze attitudes and barriers, looking for ways to improve our program,” Eriksen added.
More information on DLA’s telework program is available at http://www.hr.dla.mil/resources/employment/current/telework.asp.