More than 20 percent of employees now telework, OPM says

More feds are working from remote locations since the 2010 law was enacted.

Approximately 21 percent of eligible federal employees took advantage of telework in 2011, according to a new report from the Office of Personnel Management.

The 2012 Status of Telework in the Federal Government document released Friday will serve as a baseline to measure progress toward meeting requirements of the 2010 Telework Enhancement Act.

The document draws information from federal employees who were, for the first time, required to report telework data to OPM. Previously, agencies submitted their telework data to OPM on a voluntary basis.

The report also includes data on cost savings realized through telework, including real estate, energy and commuter subsidy costs.

The report shows growth in the number of employees who routinely telework, defined as telework that occurs as part of a regular schedule. Roughly 10 percent teleworked during calendar year 2009 compared to 21 percent in 2011, according to the report.

OPM says direct comparisons to previous years are difficult because this report uses new data collection methodology designed streamline comparisons with future years.

The document also measured qualitative aspects of remote work: “Teleworkers are more likely to report knowing what is expected of them on the job and feeling as though they are held accountable for results,” OPM said in a statement Friday.

“Overall, the use of telework is improving in the federal government,” OPM Director John Berry said in the statement. “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.”