Tips to Getting Your Agency to Say “Yes” to Training

With the government budget funded at least for the short term, agencies can breathe a small sigh of relief and begin making plans for beyond September 30. While most would agree training is a critical piece of getting and keeping a motivated and informed workforce, it still tends to be an "easy" line item cut especially in times of uncertainty.

Whether you are in charge of setting a training budget or simply seeking to get approval for yourself to attend an event, there are several ways you can work to get the funding you need. Here are a few tips: Continue reading

I Work, You Work, We Cowork: Using Coworking Spaces for Events

One study estimates that by 2020, more than 40% of the American workforce (60 million people) will be independent workers--freelancers, contractors, and temporary employees. With this steady growth in the independent workforce, the market for short-term, temporary workspaces has boomed.

Coworking spaces are designed for short-term use by freelancers and small companies. These coworking spaces provide an interesting option for event space. Just like the diverse workforce they serve, these spaces vary greatly in what they offer. Some are open spaces with desks available for rent, others have closed offices, and some even offer child care.

These spaces provide great options for event organizers. From renting out a full suite, to reserving conference rooms, there are a number of ways these venues can provide a flexible meeting space for a variety of events. We've created a list of several different coworking options that are hospitable to event planners. Continue reading

Identifying and Overcoming the Challenges of Electronic Records

Moving to electronic records makes sense on so many levels. There are the environmental impacts of less paper as well as reducing the need for real estate to simply house file cabinets. Electronic records also allow for more transparency and access to data for citizens and government alike, leading to more effective sharing of data and collaboration between agencies as well as more efficient workflows. The digitization of government is in many ways a "no brainer." But, just because it makes eminent sense, does not mean it is easy.

 

There are so many considerations when moving to electronic records. First, it is difficult to backfill old content into today's digital systems. You cannot simply upload terabytes of pdfs and make them searchable. Moving forward, an enterprise digital strategy is needed to ensure documents and information are created in a way that can be digitized, searched, and shared. Continue reading

A Salute to Public Service

In an era of intense scrutiny on the way government works (or doesn't work), it is important to take a step back from the national headlines and rhetoric and realize that the vast majority of government functions are carried out by our neighbors and friends. Regular citizens that have chosen to work for city, state, and federal agencies are the key to making sure our streets are clean and safe, the elderly have programs that keep them active and engaged, our schools are meeting the unique needs of our community, and so much more.

 

With this in mind, the GovLoop NextGen Public Service Awards seemed more needed than ever before. This awards program is designed to give public servants the recognition they deserve. Nominations were open for individuals that demonstrate a commitment to improving government through their intelligence, exuberance, or dedication (and maybe all three). This summer, thirty finalists were announced in five categories. The finalists and category descriptions from GovLoop are included here (winner names are bolded):

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Declare Your Independence from Paper

Digital-first is a common mantra among government agencies today. While it's been getting more press as agencies move to improve their citizen interactions, this shift to online is nothing new.

In 2003, the Government Paper Elimination Act went into effect. In 2013, the Obama administration set out the ambitious goal of a completely paperless government by 2019. Whether or not that goal is reached, by 2019 we will be living in a society much less reliant on paper. The benefits of a paperless society are numerous and include:

  • Environmental - Less paper equals less deforestation and pollution related to the manufacture of paper.
  • Economic - According to the EPA, a paperless office saves roughly $80 per employee annually in paper-related costs, which includes not only the paper itself, but also ink, toner, storage space, postage and more. Individual employee savings are even bigger when you consider the efficiencies gained. "The ROI for Government of Going Digital Made Simple" report from IDC Government Insights found that employee salaries are the "key component for savings." Reducing the amount of time workers spend processing, storing and maintaining paper forms will have the most impact on costs. Efficiency is gained not only for those employees in charge of documents, but also for people across the organization that benefit from having simplified access to data.
  • Data Value - Going paperless also increases the security and value of the data once stashed away in dusty file cabinets. With data stored digitally, organizations can better access it to analyze trends and comply with requests for information and transparency.

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