By Jason Miller, Deputy Director for Management, Office of Management and Budget

This Administration has one north star that guides every decision agencies make about their operations: delivering results for the American people. As part of that commitment, today the Office of Management and Budget is issuing new guidance to help ensure that agency decisions about their work environments continually improve their organization’s health and performance, including substantially increasing in-person work.

Thanks to the Administration’s comprehensive pandemic response, and consistent with the planned conclusion of the public health emergency, COVID-19 no longer dictates how Federal agencies work and serve the public. Over the past two years, Federal agencies have adapted their workplace and personnel policies to improve mission delivery and increase meaningful in-person work. But just as you should regularly go to the doctor to stay on top of your health, it’s important that the Federal Government as an organization regularly check in on its organizational health and performance.

To that end, the guidance we are releasing today directs agencies to refresh their Work Environment plans and policies—with the general expectation that agency headquarters will continue to substantially increase in-person presence in the office—while also conducting regular assessments to determine what is working well, what is not, and what can be improved. Workplace flexibilities will continue to be an important tool for ensuring agencies are able to retain and compete for top talent in the marketplace. Because the Federal Government is a vast organization, there is no one-size-fits-all approach; however, as a whole, it is important to establish overarching goals and benchmarks for consistency.

Specifically, the guidance released today directs agencies to:

  • update their Work Environment plans;
  • establish routines to assess and implement these workplace policy changes; and
  • identify a coordinated and integrated set of indicators to measure, monitor, and improve organizational health and performance.

At the core of these directives is the Administration’s broader commitment to improve customer experience and services—whether in-person, via phone, or online—so that the American people can easily and efficiently access critical Government services. This guidance will help agencies as they work to improve efficiency and effectiveness, retain and compete for talent in the labor market, and streamline public services, including in areas that have faced challenges since long before the pandemic.

Where agencies are successful, we will scale and replicate best practices. Where agencies fall short, including if their workplace policies negatively impact results, they must be held accountable and work to make responsible changes, improve their operations, and tackle challenges wherever they arise. Private sector employers across the country are undertaking this same type of assessment using lessons learned from the pandemic to strategically improve their company’s health and performance.

The guidance is grounded in advancing the three core tenets of the President’s Management Agenda: strengthening and empowering the Federal workforce, delivering excellent Federal services and customer experiences, and managing the business of the Government. As we make this shift, including increasing in-person work in many agencies, we are building on the innovations and technology that Federal agencies put to work over the last two years to make the Federal government efficient, resilient, and effective.

The COVID-19 pandemic posed significant challenges for the Federal workforce, but with those challenges came the opportunity to show Americans their government works—from distributing hundreds of millions of vaccines and tests to the public and fueling our economic recovery, to rebuilding our country’s infrastructure and streamlining critical government services. With this guidance, we continue our efforts to deliver for the American people and make the Federal Government a model employer. We have plenty of work ahead, but it wouldn’t be possible without our tireless Federal workforce, whose dedication is the backbone of our Government and as President Biden has made clear—our greatest asset.

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