Telework Maintains Strong Foothold Across California Agencies

Telework Maintains Strong Foothold Across California Agencies

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New data pulled from the Department of General Services’ data dashboard shows that the majority of state agencies are forging ahead with remote work arrangements. Some 90 percent of staff are working remotely in 37 departments.

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Department of General Services employee Monica Hassan telecommutes from her home office on Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021, in Sacramento.

Paul Kitagaki Jr./TNS

(TNS) — California state employees are spending more than 90% of their days working remotely in at least 37 departments, according to Department of General Services data.

The department, tasked with overseeing telework under state law, recently updated and expanded work-from-home data it posts to an online dashboard.

The newly uploaded figures are from August. The dataset covers 105 of 144 departments, representing about 135,000 employees out of about 190,000, according to the site.

All departments are required to provide telework data, but 39 haven’t, according to the dashboard. The Department of General Services has asked departments to provide missing data, spokeswoman Jennifer Iida said in an email.

California state departments are free to set their own telework policies. While some department directors allow full-time telework, others require employees come to the office for one day or more each week, even if their work can be performed remotely, often citing work culture and collaboration as reasons to call in staff.

While the Department of General Services dataset remains incomplete, it provides the most detailed picture yet of department-by-department telework practices. It also quantifies broader benefits of remote work, including commute miles saved and emissions reductions.

CALIFORNIA TELEWORK DATA

Many state jobs can’t be performed remotely, especially in prisons, hospitals and other public safety departments. Most agencies have at least a few jobs that can only be done in-person.

The data dashboard identifies how many employees from each department are eligible for telework, and slices the data in various ways.

It doesn’t specify how many telework days per week each department allows, but it provides the share of each department’s telework-eligible days that were performed remotely.

For example, the data show that 749 out of 753 employees at the Department of Managed Health Care were eligible for remote work in August. Of all the workdays in the month that could have been performed remotely, 99.8% were in fact performed remotely, placing the department near the top of the list in embracing remote work.

The percentages can be viewed as rough analogues for the number of telework days per week: An 80% telework rate translates to four telework days per week, 60% to three days, etc.

Since some employees who are eligible for telework choose to spend some days in the office, many of the departments with the highest percentages of telework days likely allow full-time telework. Or at least they did in August. Some departments’ policies have changed since then.

The Sacramento Bee sorted the data to identify the departments with the highest percentages of remote workdays, listed below. The figures exclude departments with fewer than 20 employees.

Some of the state’s most prominent agencies have yet to submit data, including the Employment Development Department, the Department of Motor Vehicles, the California State Lottery, the State Controller’s Office and the State Treasurer’s Office.

WHICH DEPARTMENTS ENCOURAGE REMOTE WORK?

Employees at only five departments — all relatively small — avoided working in their offices for the entire month of August.

They were the Office of Digital Innovation, the California African-American Museum, the office of the California Secretary for Environmental Protection, the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges, and the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission.

The departments with percentages above 90% are listed below, from 99% to 90%.

  • Department of Managed Health Care
  • Department of Community Services and Development
  • Financial Information System for California
  • Office of Systems Integration
  • Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment
  • Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission
  • Office of Energy Infrastructure Safety
  • Department of Child Support Services
  • Department of Aging
  • Public Utilities Commission
  • California Health Benefit Exchange
  • California Earthquake Authority
  • Department of Financial Protection and Innovation
  • State Personnel Board
  • State Coastal Conservancy
  • California Department of Tax and Fee Administration
  • California Department of Technology
  • Office of the Inspector General
  • Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery
  • Department of Fair Employment and Housing
  • Department of Developmental Services

Those between 90% and 80% are below:

  • Fair Political Practices Commission
  • Secretary of the Natural Resources Agency
  • Student Aid Commission, California
  • Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz)
  • California Gambling Control Commission
  • Department of Toxic Substances Control
  • California Transportation Commission
  • State Lands Commission
  • Sierra Nevada Conservancy
  • Secretary for Business, Consumer Services, and Housing Agency
  • Department of Pesticide Regulation
  • Wildlife Conservation Board
  • Department of Human Resources
  • Department of Conservation
  • State Water Resources Control Board
  • High-Speed Rail Authority
  • Secretary for Transportation Agency

And from 80% to 60%:

  • Department of Housing and Community Development
  • Department of Cannabis Control
  • California Victim Compensation Board
  • California Coastal Commission
  • Secretary for Government Operations Agency
  • Board of Forestry and Fire Protection
  • Central Valley Flood Protection Board
  • Board of State and Community Corrections
  • State Council on Developmental Disabilities
  • California Horse Racing Board
  • Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • Commission on Teacher Credentialing
  • Department of Justice
  • State Public Defender
  • Department of Transportation
  • Department of Social Services
  • Public Employment Relations Board
  • California Conservation Corps
  • California Correctional Health Care Services
  • California State Library
  • State Air Resources Board
  • Department of Forestry and Fire Protection
  • Exposition Park
  • Department of Food and Agriculture
  • State Board of Equalization
  • Department of Real Estate
  • California Tahoe Conservancy
  • State Department of Health Care Services
  • Department of Public Health
  • Department of State Hospitals
  • Department of Health Care Access and Information
  • Department of Finance
  • Agricultural Labor Relations Board

©2022 The Sacramento Bee. Visit sacbee.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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