About a fifth of DHS employees expressed negative views regarding safety precautions and other aspects of the department’s response to the pandemic in the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey conducted last fall.
Because of the nature of its work, a notably large share of the DHS workforce has continued reporting to their regular workplaces even as many other agencies switched to “maximum telework” status. Of the roughly 80,000 DHS employees who responded, about 30 percent said they have been at their regular workplaces full-time since the pandemic was declared last March, and another 32 percent at least half of the time.
Seventy percent agreed or strongly agreed that senior leaders demonstrated a commitment to employee health and safety related to the pandemic, but nearly 17 percent disagreed or strongly disagreed, with the rest neutral.
Similarly, about 22 percent disagreed or strongly disagreed that the organization has made employee safety a top priority when bringing employees back from telework and nearly as many said they were not confident about the organization’s ability to handle future emergencies, based on its response to the pandemic.
Views of immediate supervisors concern for their subordinates’ health and safety were more positive but more than 11 percent still disagreed or strongly disagreed, with 12 percent neutral. Responses were similar to a question regarding whether supervisors support personal efforts to stay healthy and safe.
About 40 percent of employees said the pandemic disrupted their work only slightly or not at all, with 32 percent saying it had “somewhat” of an effect and the rest saying it had been very or extremely disruptive. And 18 percent said their work demands had greatly increased and 27 percent said demands had somewhat increased.