How’s Work-Life Balance at Your Agency? Uncle Sam Wants to Know

OPM to send out first governmentwide survey on the issue in early 2017.

The Office of Personnel Management early next year will administer its first survey on how federal employees across government feel about their work-life balance.

The survey -- announced Tuesday -- comes in response to a June 2014 memorandum from President Obama directing agencies to maximize use of telework and other flexibilities that help employees lead active lives both inside and outside the office. OPM will use the data collected to assess how the government stacks up with the private sector on work-life balance, identify programs that are working well and may be worth additional investments, and help agencies understand any needs that are unique to their employees.

“By creating opportunity at every level of the workforce, we are working to attract, empower and retain a talented and productive workforce to better serve the American people,” said acting OPM Director Beth Cobert in an Oct. 25 memo to human capital officials, the inspectors general council and work-life coordinators.

OPM’s annual Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey already includes some questions about satisfaction with work-life programs. The 2016 results showed slight increases in satisfaction with telework programs, alternative work schedules, and health and wellness programs (positive responses for all three of these categories increased 1 percentage point). Federal employees were neutral on child care, elder care and employee assistance programs, with positive responses showing no change in 2016 compared to the previous year.