OPM going online to promote telework

With only about 14 percent of all eligible federal employees teleworking, the Office of Personnel Management is looking to the Web to educate federal managers of its benefits.

The agency will hold a Web seminar June 24 to teach agency managers how to become effective teleworkers.

The latest OPM and General Services Administration telework survey found more than 102,000 of the more than 751,000 eligible employees were working from home or from GSA telecommuting centers in 2003. This is an increase of 12,000 employees since 2002 and a 93 percent increase since 2001.

Federal managers will view a series of information slides and then discuss them during a conference call during the online tutorial.

'Teleworking is an essential component of the federal government's continuance of operations plans, as well as a smart way to reduce traffic congestion in metropolitan areas,' said OPM director Kay Coles James. 'Each component of our education campaign is crucially important as we work with federal agency managers in increasing their understanding of and capability to implement telework policies with greater speed.'

Gil Gordon, a telework expert and founder of Gil Gordon Associates of Monmouth Junction, N.J., will host the Web seminar, which also will feature a panel discussion of federal managers' experience with teleworking employees.

The Web seminar is one of many ways OPM and GSA are trying to promote telework. The study, which OPM sent to Congress last month, said the agency used a special $500,000 appropriation to target agencies in which less than 2 percent of eligible employees were teleworking. OPM and GSA worked with 20 agencies, including the Homeland Security and Veterans Affairs departments, and the Export-Import Bank, to develop policies and programs and held a special workshop for them featuring success stories.

The report concluded that telework is growing steadily and moving into the mainstream as an expected part of an agency's effective personnel strategy.

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