Federal employees expressed greater satisfaction with a variety of aspects of their work in the 2020 government-wide survey, which also has produced the most comprehensive data to date on how telework increased.

OPM still has not released full results of the survey, conducted last fall, although individual agencies continue to release their own numbers. Among those are the IRS, whose report is the first to include government-wide figures on many of the questions for comparison with results at that agency and its parent Treasury Department.


For example, a question asking about overall satisfaction with the job increased from 2019 from 69 to 72 percent positive government-wide and satisfaction with the employee’s organization from 61 to 66 percent. Satisfaction also increased by several percentage points, to the 58-59 positive range, regarding involvement in decisions that affect the employee’s work, information from management on what’s going on in the organization, and recognition for doing a good job.

Ratings of supervisors, managers and senior leaders also increased by several points in various areas. For example, ratings of the person’s immediate supervisor’s support for work-life balance rose from 82 to 85 percent positive, while a similar question about senior leaders—not defined, but generally taken to mean SES level and political appointees above them—rose from 59 to 64 percent positive.

Satisfaction with work-life programs also increased along with their use. For example, while before the pandemic only 42 percent of respondents teleworked even occasionally, that figure rose to 78 percent. Similarly, only 8.5 percent previously had teleworked at least three days per week, a figure that rose to 68.5 percent at the peak. The percentage who teleworked less than two days per month meanwhile fell from 17.8 to 4.3 percent.

Of those who did not telework, the large majority said the they must be physically present on the job, while smaller numbers said they had technical issues, were not approved to telework, or chose not to do it.

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2021 Federal Employees Handbook