As more Federal employees are going back to the office, there are efforts to understand the impact telework had. According to a recent survey, one effect was a substantial boost in productivity, as 79 percent of Federal employees found their productivity increased while teleworking during the pandemic, the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) found.

The employee union, which represents over 700,000 Federal and Washington, D.C., government employees, found that 62 percent of respondents said their productivity increased a lot while teleworking, and another 17 percent said their productivity increased a little.

“Our survey shows that the Federal and D.C. government employees we represent were more productive during the pandemic, even though the majority were working from home for the first time,” AFGE National President Everett Kelley said in a release.

The pandemic caused a massive shift to telework. Seventy-three percent of respondents were teleworking one day a week or less before the pandemic. 80 percent of respondents then reported being telework only at the pandemic’s height. Just four percent of respondents said their productivity decreased, and the final 17 percent reported the same amount of productivity.

“The firsthand experiences of the employees we represent directly contradict the assumptions being made by certain lawmakers that efficiency or productivity suffers when employees are permitted to telework,” Kelley said. “In fact, many Federal worksites have reported increases in productivity during the pandemic even as most of their employees were working from home 100% of the time.”

Rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga., recently called for inspectors general to assess the telework impact on agencies’ missions and employee performance during the pandemic as Federal agencies are beginning to return to the office. President Biden lifted the Federal office occupancy restrictions June 10 and announced permanent telework options in the same memo.

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Lamar Johnson
Lamar Johnson
Lamar Johnson is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.