OPM Releases Survey of Work-Life Flexibilities in the Federal Government

OPM recently released a report on the results of the Federal Work-Life Survey, which evaluated Telework, Work Schedule Flexibilities, Employee Assistance Programs, and Worksite Health and Wellness Programs.

Directional signs symbolizing work-life balanceEarlier this month, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) issued the Federal Work-Life Survey Government-wide Report that highlights key findings and recommendations on the federal workforce use of workplace flexibilities and participation in work-life programs. It is well known that investment in such programs and practices promotes the recruitment and retention of diverse talent, improves employee morale, and sustains high individual and organizational performance. The OPM study only reinforced these findings.

According to the report, federal employees highly rate work schedule flexibilities (80 percent), telework (76 percent), and employee assistance programs (60 percent). Employees were less satisfied with health and wellness programs (38 percent) and family and dependent care (30 percent). In the report, OPM said that it hoped to expand support for these programs and to reduce barriers that prevent employees from using them. It noted that the number of employees with adult-dependent responsibilities is expected to double in the next five years, thus further complicating the work-life balance for federal employees and increasing the need for such programs.

The survey also found that less than half of employees experience positive supervisory support for the use of work-life programs. Overall, the study concluded that a supportive work culture helps the federal government serve as an employer of choice for the modern workforce.

Unfortunately, in the last few months, some agencies have acted directly contrary to the survey results. The Department of Agriculture, for example, has directed agencies to limit telework to one day per week of telework, without consulting with unions representing employees in the Department and without regard to what collective bargaining agreements currently provide. NTEU is carefully monitoring this issue across all NTEU-represented agencies and intends to insist with agency leaders — and on Capitol Hill — that we be allowed to bargain on any changes in the workplace at our agencies.