Magazine article Workforce Management

Opm Work/life Effort May Have Broader Impact

Magazine article Workforce Management

Opm Work/life Effort May Have Broader Impact

Article excerpt


The Office of Personnel Management is launching a series of programs to improve work/life balance for its 5,000 employees, a move that, if suc- cessful, many say will cascade through- out the federal government and into the private sector.

During the past several months, President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama have called for employers to do a better job in establishing work/life balance programs.

"The president has reviewed our plans and is very excited by it," says John Berry, director of the OPM.

Establishing work/life programs and creating a better work environment is critical, particularly in the public sector, where managers don't control pay and benefits, Berry says.

Rather than launch a series of pilot programs, Berry has created a task force of 12 employees dubbed "The Wolf Pack" to discover what the OPM workforce wants. The OPM also is holding monthly town hall meetings to discuss possibilities for work/life programs, he says. "I don't have unlimited money, so we want to come up with a list of priorities," he says.

Among the suggestions is providing day care not just for employees' children, but also for their parents, which is becoming a growing issue, Berry says.

The OPM has already started to expand its wellness programs. It is devoting $300,000 to upgrading its health clinic.

And the agency isn't working alone. It is teaming up with the Department of the Interior and the General Services Administration to see how they can coordinate efforts and share resources, Berry says.

"For example, the Department of Interior has a nice gym, so there is no reason to replicate that," he says. "But we might kick in more money to hire more staff so that our employees can use it."

Experts would like to see the OPM be creative about what it does with regard to work/life programs. …

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