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Long After COVID Pandemic Ended, Not One Federal Agency Has More than 50% of Its Staff at Office

Long After COVID Pandemic Ended, Not One Federal Agency Has More than 50% of Its Staff at Office

The Subcommittee on Government Operations and the Federal Workforce held a hearing on how productive teleworking employees were. It went as you might expect.

May 11th marked the official end of the country’s response to the covid pandemic. However, not one federal agency reports that most of its staff has returned to the office after enjoying the perks of 3 years of working from home.

The UK Daily Mail had an exclusive interview with Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA). It may surprise nobody at Legal Insurrection that the Department of Housing and Urban Development was at the bottom of the list of employees who have returned to the office.

According to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) memo to Sen. Joni Ernst, obtained by, not a single federal agency has over half of its workforce in the office.

That’s a staggering statistic since federal agencies spend about $2 billion taxpayer dollars per year to operate and maintain federal office buildings – and over $5 billion annually in leases.

…The data shows an ‘estimated three-month average space utilization’ statistics that were collected for 24 agencies during one-week periods in January, February and March 2023.

The agency with the greatest percentage of in-office staff for the three months was the State Department at 49 percent. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) took home the prize for the least space utilization (7 percent).

Ernst and other congressional Republicans are gearing up to campaign on “Bidenomics” in 2024.

‘Under Bidenflation, buying and renting is a whole lot more expensive, and instead of getting the homeless off the streets, no one is even home at HUD,’ she continued.
The senator from Iowa is calling for the ‘end’ of the Biden administration allowing federal buildings to remain vacant at the taxpayers’ expense.

She has previously called for the administration to sell off unused space and return the money to taxpayers.

Congress has been stepping up oversight of government agencies and their telework policies, now that it has been months since President Biden formally ended the COVID-19 emergency.

Ernst and other lawmakers say billions of taxpayer dollars have been wasted based on unused federal office space.

More than 75 percent of the available office space at 17 different federal agencies is still empty, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

The Biden administration has been pressing federal workers to return to the office as of April 2023. But, like the rest of the world, American bureaucrats are inclined to ignore the present occupant of the Oval Office.

The White House on Thursday asked federal agencies to revise workforce plans as it aims to “substantially increase” in-person work by government employees at headquarters offices and improve services, according to a memo seen by Reuters.

The memo to executive branch agencies from White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) director Shalanda Young directs agencies to refresh work environment plans and policies.

“Consistent with trends over the last two years, plans should reflect the expectation that agency headquarters and equivalents generally continue to substantially increase meaningful in-person work in Federal offices,” the memo first reported by Reuters said.

At a recent congressional hearing, Rep. Gary Palmer (R-AK) asked about how agencies are measuring and addressing the productivity and output of employees teleworking. It went as you might expect.

Rep. Palmer: “One of the main causes for improper payment is that many of your agencies have antiquated data systems. We’re now probably in the range of 300 billion dollars a year – 250 to 300 billion a dollars a year in improper payments.”

“I would like to know have you tracked your agencies’ amount of improper payments particularly in the context of the number of people who aren’t working in the office or are working remotely.”

Mr. Leavitt (HHS): “We do have systems in place to ensure that we are tracking the locality rate of the employees…”

Rep. Palmer: “Have you done anything to measure productivity?”

Mr. Pelter (Commerce): “I wouldn’t use the phrase, sir, internal audit, however I do generally look at three tiers. First, the strategic plan that our secretaries put in place and whether or not we’re meeting those objectives.

Rep. Palmer: “Mr. Chairman, I think we need to get an answer from each of our witnesses as to whether or not productivity has improved, declined, stayed the same.”

Our economy is suffering from long covid in the form of a continued drain of our resources by federal employees who want to continue their pandemic perks.


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Government jobs have always been the sacred goal of SLACKERS.

    JohnSmith100 in reply to MAJack. | December 7, 2023 at 8:28 pm

    A huge % of which are incompetent Affirmative slackers, not just black slackers, there are plenty of soft major whites

Well if they can manage with only half the people at the office, they should fire the other half because they’re not needed

    henrybowman in reply to Ironclaw. | December 8, 2023 at 2:07 am

    “The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) took home the prize for the least space utilization (7 percent).”

    And yet many thousands of illegals are homeless.
    Do I have to draw a picture for you, Marcia?

    Working from home doesn’t mean you’re “not needed.”
    Being a gov’t employee might.

Just send out a memo stating that all essential employees must be in the office 5 days a week. Fire whoever doesn’t return, as that must not be too essential.

E Howard Hunt | December 7, 2023 at 3:19 pm

It was rough working from home during the writers’ strike.

I suspect that a huge % of these folks exist as part of bloated staffs of self important SR bureaucrats who send meaningless bits of info to each other and to the equally bloated staffs of their bosses all the way up the chain. They exist to provide the illusion of importance ‘see how many people work for me, that means I am a VIP’. The insane job titles give it away in many cases; Principle Deputy Assistant Under Secretary for X. Having met more than a few of these folks in my time in the Army they are largely speaking insufferable in their mediocrity and their arrogant demands for attention.

Because Federal “””workers””” don’t want grandma to die, obviously.

‘Telework’ is a joke even among well supervised organizations with strict standards.

For the federal government it’s downright criminal fraud and theft. We all know how little ‘work’ these lazy incompetent morons are doing at home.

I remember reading how there were a number of givwrnment workes dentified that were ‘working from home’ at a 2nd job and still getting paid for their federal joke job.

If you can get by with so little people in the office then you won’t mind if the office gets moved out of the cesspit of DC.

    Andy in reply to Olinser. | December 8, 2023 at 6:13 pm

    Disagree with the hate on remote workers. I’ve been mostly remote since 2005. It makes no sense to drive 30 minutes to 2.5 hours to sit at a desk and talk on the phone, work power point and do email for 7-9 hours and then sit in traffic again.

    However I’ve done it this long because I know how to make sure I’m indispensable. I’m visible in what I do In my latest gig- I even moved across the country and told them if they didn’t like it- to fire me. My performance review was last week….I’m getting promoted and getting a raise. I’ve set foot in an office building less than 10 times.

    Biggest down side is you feel like a shut-in sometimes.

Straight theft from the productive sector to the lazy, non-productive sector.

Real American | December 7, 2023 at 4:14 pm

Good enough for government work!

Sell off all the excess office space, do not renew leases, space not used but under lease can be housed yo house illegal migrants.

I’m going to buck the trend here and say working from a fixed office is Victorian era thinking 😂

I work within the financial industry where I’m not customer facing or dealing directly with service providers and the vast majority of people in my organisation are in the same boat.

The reality is we do jobs that can be done anywhere. One of the other benefits is the reduced need for expensive office space in central expensive city locations with a reduced cost of heating, lighting and cooling those spaces.

Another reality is productivity has not been reduced by people working from home. The days of managing people only if you can see them died around 1850.

Also as a people manager I’ve always been of the opinion that as long as you do your job I couldn’t care less where you do it.

People are rarely uncontactable these days and quite often I have to explain to people that I’m on a course, a…golf course and will call them back in an hour or two 😁

On a serious note because I’m home based my hours are actually longer than if I’m in an office. I’m regularly signed in around 730 catching up with colleagues on the other side of the planet before doing the school drop off and can quite happily work through the evening if need be. On the flip side, if things are quiet I’ll go hit some golf balls or head out on the bike for a couple hours or go for a run or walk the dogs.

Since the Chinese death pox my quality of life and work life balance has been great 😁

    CommoChief in reply to mailman. | December 7, 2023 at 6:09 pm

    In jobs where you are on a strictly ‘you only eat what you kill’ where the compensation is 100% directly tied to individual performance like commission sales as an example then sure. Grant those employees absolute freedom to succeed or fail based on their individual performance. They are usually already self motivated to begin with and the incentives keep them performing.

    I am not convinced this would work for the average office drone w/o rigorous performance measures and relentless follow through to fire the bottom 10-15% of performers each year. That’s probably not something the average modern corporate office worker would want in exchange for remote work opportunity. The top 1/3 would love it, the bottom 1/3 would be terrified and the middle 1/3 too nervous they would eventually not make the cut for retention. As for Federal government workers….nah their union would flip out if accountability entered the room.

      Olinser in reply to CommoChief. | December 7, 2023 at 6:51 pm

      Agree. A job with actual performance incentives and stringent oversight it probably works fine.

      Any other organization it’s a joke and everybody knows it.

      One of the very first things that Elon Musk did on taking over Twitter was order them back to the office and back to work.

      mailman in reply to CommoChief. | December 8, 2023 at 2:26 am

      The other part of modern work, for my industry anyway, is in todays 24/7 follow the sun planet the vast majority of people I work with aren’t based in the same city as my office.

      That has changed from when I first started working when 95% of the people I worked with were within 20 feet of me in the office.

      How ever our modern work practice is the complete opposite of that so for many people sitting in an office is a pointless exercise.

      The world has changed: thanks to China.

      Or maybe I’m just lucky to work in an industry that can, and does, look after itself 🤷‍♂️

        CommoChief in reply to mailman. | December 8, 2023 at 8:48 am

        The financial services industry is extraordinarily well suited to remote work in the internet age. Added to that is the mentality of those in that field who willingly accept that their compensation is directly dependent upon their individual performance which is, IMO, the key requirement. Customer facing jobs/industries not so much, folks still want the option to walk in and talk to a human being in person.. Nor does the average gov’t employee, probably the majority, possess the mindset required to embrace individual performance accountability; if they did the union leadership they vote for would reflect that in contract negotiations.

    wendybar in reply to mailman. | December 8, 2023 at 5:08 am

    You don’t work for US…not getting a damn thing done, except blowing our money on things that are NOT making America a better place.

    Some jobs most certainly can be done without physical interaction.
    The idea that so many gov’t jobs can be done without interacting with the citizens they “serve” is really where the problem lies. The more regulating and administrating is done, the more people are required to move virtual papers and attend meetings, and the more people are needed to do ‘work’ while those others are at the meetings. And then there’s more meetings to administer the larger head count….

Government has become a no work job, and pays top dollar with that.
Some months if not over a year ago some congregation committee pointed out government buildings had hardly anyone show up on a work day.

If we had a President there would be no “WH asked”, there would only be “WH directed” and any worker that refused would be terminated along with the person in charge who refused to carry out any order of the WH

generally continue to substantially increase meaningful in-person work in Federal offices
Well, there’s a word in there that really throws the wrench into the gears, no matter whether they’re in the office or not: meaningful.

Vast numbers of gov’t workers don’t do anything meaningful, no matter what their job location is. Most of the fraud, waste, and abuse was taking place before the pandemic. Getting sent home to work just means no one can see you looking at pr0n on your computer during the work day.

Having said all that, some positions don’t really need to be in an office. The big ones being IT folks (who don’t work on classified). One contract, at least, was 100% remote (the system being “in the cloud”) even before Wuhan Flu kicked off, and it’s worked pretty well.

Do NOT let them do this.

Their covid policies exposed the fact that we DON’T need centralization in a whole hell of a lot of jobs.

And THAT allowed parents to see what the left was doing to their children.

It let them notice what the left was doing to their country.

Now, the left wants the people to go back to sleep, to have less autonomy, to re-acclimate to being told what to do, to wear, to say..

They want to re-institutionalize us before they absolutely can’t anymore.

Don’t help them.

Fight for the right to work from where you are.

How about the DOD? Anyone doing classified work must be on site. They cannot work on anything classified from home.

I have been working from home since at least 2012. The thing we pointed out is that the servers we work on are 300 yards away in a data center even when we were in the office and we were not allowed in the data center most of the time. Then they offshored some jobs so they were 8000 miles away and it really made no sense to tell us we could not do the job from 10 miles away. So most system administration, software development, everything but actual hardware maintenance (replacing actual parts and cables) is done remotely anyway so as long as your people can work without close supervision the work can be done from anywhere with a good internet connection.