Employees at the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) will be required to work some days in the office starting next month.
OPM is the latest agency to make this change to telework after the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) told agencies earlier this year to start ramping up in-person requirements after the COVID-19 pandemic.
All eligible employees across the country with teleworking agreements at OPM are expected to report to the office at least four days per pay period starting this fall. Employees may choose which four days they want to spend in the office every two weeks.
The change will take place in a phased approach, beginning in September, and will be fully implemented by October.
OPM ended the governmentwide COVID-19 operating status on May 15, a month after the White House’s OMB asked Federal agencies to increase the amount of “meaningful” in-person work at Federal offices, while also balancing telework as an important retention tool.
OPM Director Kiran Ahuja has been an advocate for telework and the flexibility it offers for employees. “Face time is not a proxy for performance. We actually need to utilize these workplace flexibilities in order to take advantage of what we’ve learned throughout the pandemic,” Ahuja said at a House Oversight hearing in March. “We’ve actually seen greater engagement by employees. We’ve seen greater productivity and performance.”
OPM is the latest in a long series of agencies to announce new in-the-office requirements. In May, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced it will require employees on telework agreements in the National Capital Region to report for a minimum of five days in the office each pay period starting in the fall.
The House Oversight and Accountability Committee Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., has led the opposition to Feds teleworking, pledging to investigate how many Federal employees are working from home and spearheading legislation that would roll back Federal agency telework policies to their year-end 2019 levels.