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Government employees share benefits and burdens of returning to office amid OPM telework mandates

In light of recent OMB and OPM telework guidance, Eagle Hill Consulting surveyed government employees across the U.S. to learn more about their perspectives and preferences when it comes to in-person and remote work.  The research findings provide insights to agency leaders as they update their return to office plans and scale back maximum telework. 

Where do government employees do their best work?

Workers prefer individual tasks remotely, team tasks in person. 

Deep thinking and research are best performed remotely, while activities such as team building, integrating a new person onto a team, and onboarding or training are better suited for in person. 

Managing people and performance needs to happen face-to-face. 

Managing people, giving and receiving feedback, and performance discussions are best performed in person.

Q: For the following activities, do you think each is better performed in person or remote?

How government employees want to collaborate depends on who they know.

Government employees prefer to collaborate in person with colleagues they know. When it comes to people they don’t know, employees prefer to collaborate remotely, with the exception of men and Baby Boomers who prefer to do so in person.

Q: How do you prefer collaborating with:

What do government employees see as the benefits of more in-person work?

Increased socialization, improved collaboration, and the ability to leave work at the office are top benefits of more in-person work.

Q:  If you are required to go back to the workplace, what do you see as the benefits?






Ability to leave
work at the office


More productive
at the office


Informal learning



What concerns government employees about more in-person work?

Nearly half of government employees are concerned about work/life balance if they are required to return to the office. Commute time and increased costs are also top concerns.

Q: If you are required to work more in the office, what concerns you?












More distractions
at the office


More rigid
work schedule


Less productive
at the office



Women are more concerned about returning to the office than men.

Across the board, women are more concerned than men. This is especially true for increased costs, distractions in the office, and more rigid work schedules. 

Q: If you are required to work more in the office, what concerns you?

How do government employees want to spend their in-person workdays?

Workers are split on whether they would be most productive spending a full or partial day in the office. However, genders and generations have clear distinctions in their preferences.

Q: If you are required to go into the office, do you feel you would be most productive:

What are the impacts of reduced flexibility on the government workforce? 

Nearly half of government employees say they would consider looking for another job that offers more flexibility should their employer reduce flexibility in terms of where they can work.


would consider looking for another job 

Millennials and remote/hybrid government employees are most likely to head for the door should their employer reduce flexibility. 

Q: If your employer reduces flexibility in terms of remote and hybrid where you can work, will you consider looking for another job that offers more flexibility?

The majority of remote/hybrid government employees say their productivity and job satisfaction will decrease if their employer reduces flexibility. 

Q: If your employer reduces flexibility, do you expect:

Does being in person impact job success?

More than half of government employees say those who work more in person than remotely are more likely to be successful in their jobs. Baby Boomers and men in government are most likely to relate in-person work to job success. 

Q: Do you think employees who choose to work more in the office than remotely are more likely to be successful in their jobs?


These findings are based upon the 2023 Eagle Hill Consulting Telework Survey conducted by Ipsos from April 27 – May 1, 2023. The survey included 1,264 respondents from a random sample of employees across the U.S., including 511 federal, state, and local government workers. Respondents were polled about their views about working remotely.