The latest OPM report on telework, like those of past years, points to management resistance as a major barrier to wider use.
The Agriculture Department for example reported to OPM that “many sub-agencies at USDA continue to struggle with management resistance to allow greater participation.” The Treasury Department said that it “is experiencing many of the same barriers to telework that are common across the federal government. Management resistance remains at the top of the list with a continued need for endorsement from Treasury’s Executive level management and filtering down.”
Several agencies said that in response they have stepped up training of managers–and employees–about telework. DoD was one of those; State similarly said that it has “conducted focus groups to uncover resistance points and suggestions.”
While managerial resistance often is seen in terms of supervisors wanting to physically observe their subordinates at work, prior reports have said that more practical issues also play a role, such as insufficient coverage in the office or concerns about data security when employees work remotely, commonly on personal equipment.
In addition, some employees who are eligible to telework choose not to, for reasons including concern about being out of the regular office workflow and assignments that could build skills and lead to promotions.