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Survey Shows Many Government Employees Still Teleworking

The new data, from a survey fielded by gov tech vendor Springbrook Software, gives a fresh and unique perspective on the number of public servants still working remotely two years into the pandemic.

A person working from home on a laptop.
When workers across the country went home en masse two years ago this month, surely few thought they would still be working from home today.

And yet many still are — including a decent chunk of local government agencies where nearly everyone is still teleworking, according to a new survey from Springbrook Software, a financial tech provider for local government. The number has fallen over time, but the stubbornly high rates emphasize the persistence of COVID-19, even now surging in some parts of the world as cases fall in the U.S.
Government telework has presented a host of technological challenges and opportunities, rapidly advancing many digital services and data projects while delaying other upgrades and introducing new cybersecurity risks.

The survey provides a valuable barometer of government remote work, since one of the most consistent data sources on the subject — the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ monthly Current Population Survey (CPS) — has always been limited by the wording of its question. That survey asks workers whether they are working remotely specifically because of the pandemic; many who began teleworking in 2020 have since become permanent teleworkers who wouldn’t necessarily respond yes to that question.

The latest month of data available from the CPS, February, put local government telework because of COVID-19 at about 10 percent. State rates were at 18 percent, and the federal rate was 27 percent. The economy-wide rate was 13 percent.

To put that in context, the government-wide telework rate in May 2020 was 57 percent.
Ben Miller is the associate editor of data and business for Government Technology. His reporting experience includes breaking news, business, community features and technical subjects. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in journalism from the Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno, and lives in Sacramento, Calif.