In regards to remote working, the general consensus seems to be, "you can't put the genie back in the bottle."
A good portion of the government workforce has been working from home for the past year, and the world has continued turning. In fact, some agencies report productivity is up since teleworking became the norm. While people will return to the office, it will look different with many alternating office days with days they work from home. The past year has shown us that working arrangements do not necessarily need to be confined to an office. And, when we also remove the stress of students learning from home, caring for homebound elderly parents, and a pandemic in general, employees may realize a new level of balance and job satisfaction.
To support the continued success of remote work, agencies need to shore up the IT that was put in place to simply keep the trains running on time. Some technology was implemented quickly to meet the immediate need, and now is the time to take a hard look at all of those solutions to see if they will scale to meet the long-term reality of a dispersed workforce.
Government organizations and technology providers are taking a renewed look at how they enable this permanence of remote work.
- The Trusted Internet Connections (TIC) 3.0 guidance is a major step toward allowing government agencies to utilize the same technologies available in the private sector for reliable and secure cloud access, branch office connectivity, and a high-quality remote user experience.
- In late 2020, Google introduced Workspace for Government, a set of offerings specifically for the public sector.
- DISA is changing up the way agencies talk about devices with a shift toward BYOAD -- Bring Your Own Approved Device, a methodology that looks to platforms that enable personal devices to do government work.
- DOD developed a solution called the Commercial Virtual Remote Environment (CVR) to support mass telework. It has been in use to make the immediate move to telework and now the department is working on a lasting solution that will operate at a higher impact level.
There are several events and resources to help agencies make the shift to long term telework enablement.
- Telework: The Office is Wherever I Am (March 24, 2021; virtual ) -- Agencies are looking at the lessons from the past year and preparing plans to address challenges such as technology equality, managing in a digital world, metrics to measure employee effectiveness, and fostering collaboration in a distributed work world. Learn from agencies who now have experience with large percentages of their staff teleworking.
- Virtual Meetings, Virtual Chats, Virtual Everything - How to Actually Collaborate (March 31, 2021; webcast) -- The world has gone virtual, and that isn't going to change anytime soon. The move to remote work forced agencies to transition to a new normal, but now agencies need to find a way to truly connect employees, increase collaboration and train them effectively remotely. Hear from government and industry leaders on how to have good virtual meetings, manage virtual teams, and collaborate in new ways.
- SNG Live: Workforce 2021 (April 8, 2021; webcast) -- This event will bring together top leaders and decision makers from the government and technology space to discuss what agencies are doing to bolster the federal IT workforce through new hiring authorities, how they're overcoming perennial challenges with talent development initiatives, and the latest in the federal technology skills gap.
- #ShiftHappens Conference (April 20-22, 2021; virtual ) -- The new modern workplace is here to stay. With organizations embracing remote and hybrid work environments for the foreseeable future, you need to be the go-to-resource for helping your organization ensure the continuity and optimization of its digital workplace. At this event you'll hear from leading Microsoft 365 practitioners as they share lessons learned and best practices to ensure business continuity and end user productivity in the new modern workplace.
- A Time For Talent: Improving Federal Recruiting and Hiring (white paper) -- To deliver for the American people now and in the future, and competently respond to inevitable crises, the government must be able to recruit and hire a world-class workforce. Yet the federal recruiting and hiring process is in drastic need of repair. Learn best practices for recruiting and retaining a workforce that meets the current environment.
- COVID-19 and the Virtualization of Government (white paper) -- What does the shift to telework mean for government agencies? It means teams should consider the need to adapt to the new normal today. Meanwhile, leaders and policymakers need to prepare for the "next normal" tomorrow, gathering the data they need to understand what works well virtually and what doesn't, so they can make intentional choices that enhance and sustain the employee experience at the same time.