Sarbanes: Telework Supports the Federal Workforce of the Future [VIDEO]

December 1, 2021
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Md.) today underscored the importance of workplace flexibility in creating the strong, talented federal workforce of the future and continuing to serve the American people effectively and efficiently.

In the Oversight and Reform Committee’s Government Operations Subcommittee hearing, “The Future of Federal Work,” Congressman Sarbanes discussed ways the federal government can attract and build the next generation of civil servants, retain talent and create a workplace driven by dedication to service. Telework policies, which the Congressman has championed for many years through the Telework Enhancement Act, can play a central role in modernizing and improving the federal workforce.

“I absolutely agree with you that you can strike the right balance between telecommuting and telework on the one hand and continuing to provide high-quality, accessible in-person services on the other hand. The private sector has long found that balance – I think, even though there’s a different dimension to the way the public sector has to reach out and touch our citizens across the country, that balance can be struck there as well,” said Congressman Sarbanes.

He continued, “I think the statistics show, Mr. Chairman, that agencies that have embraced telework for a number of years now actually demonstrate heightened productivity across the entire workforce – not just those that are teleworking, but those that are not teleworking on a frequent basis. Because it leads to a different set of metrics, how you measure performance, and I think the entire workforce then steps up into an approach that can raise the bar on what that agency is delivering.”

Finally, he said, “Prior to the pandemic, only 3% of the federal workforce was teleworking every day. At the peak of the pandemic, no surprise here, 59% of the federal workforce was teleworking every day. A federal survey conducted at that time found that 79% of the federal employees were either very satisfied or satisfied with their agency’s telework program, which is a tribute to what agencies have done since we put the Telework Improvement Act of 2010 in place. Because they’ve really embraced this, it’s not completely uniform in terms of where the different agencies are, but obviously this has become part of the go-to toolkit for how these agencies operate in a very productive way.”

See below for a video of the Congressman’s full remarks.