FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 1, 2010
Contact: Sarah Howe
FLEXIBLE WORK ARRANGEMENTS UNDERUSED BY GOVERNMENT
Report Cites Manager Resistance as Primary Barrier
WASHINGTON – The nonprofit Partnership for Public Service and Booz Allen Hamilton today released a report on the current state of federal government flexible work arrangements. On Demand Government: Deploying Flexibilities to Ensure Service Continuity examines the use of teleworking, compressed workweeks, flextime, part-time schedules and job sharing in the federal government, the barriers to their use and offers recommendations for change.
On Demand Government finds that the government, once a leader in teleworking, has lost its momentum, with less than six percent of the 1.9 million federal workforce – about 102,900 employees – teleworking at least one day a month. In addition, there was a consistent drop in teleworking from 2004 through 2007 with the number peaking at 140,694 in 2004, but plummeting to 94,643 in 2007.
“The federal government must take a different approach to telework – an approach that will change the current mindset of managers, set aggressive goals, start with the premise of “yes” and ensure that teleworking can be effective during a crisis,” said Max Stier, president and CEO of the Partnership for Public Service.
According to the study, federal manager resistance is the primary barrier to implementing telework in federal agencies. The managers cite concerns about limited productivity and inaccessibility of teleworkers; the potential for abuse; a lack of accountability; and the absence of personal interaction. The study identifies two more important barriers: cultural and organizational, and technology and information security concerns.
The report recommends that the government set aggressive targets for teleworking – a goal of 600,000 civil servants teleworking by 2014 – and not be satisfied with small incremental advances.
To meet this goal, the report advises that:
The On Demand Government report finds that job sharing and part-time schedules are rarely used in the federal government. Only 3.3 percent of federal employees worked part-time and .02 percent job shared. Too few federal agencies make use of flexible work arrangements as a strategic tool to recruit and retain top talent, or to broadly help employees balance family and work obligations, and reduce lengthy commuting times and transportation costs.
The report points to agencies that have overcome roadblocks including the Defense Information Systems Agency, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Patent and Trademark Office.
The On Demand Government report is the first in a three-phase examination of flexible work arrangements. The second will be to evaluate telework support for mission continuity using a “stress-test” of remote access capabilities at one or two federal agencies. The third phase will be a work flexibilities pilot project in cooperation with federal agencies.
The Partnership for Public Service is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that works to revitalize the federal government by inspiring a new generation to serve and by transforming the way government works.
Booz Allen Hamilton has been at the forefront of management consulting for businesses and governments for more than 90 years. Providing consulting services in strategy, operations, organization and change, and information technology, Booz Allen is the one firm that helps clients solve their toughest problems, working by their side to help them achieve their missions. Booz Allen is committed to delivering results that endure.
To download a copy of the report, go to ourpublicservice.org.