The last year has brought about incredible change in the federal workforce, and it shows no sign of stopping. With a new Director for the Office of Personnel and Management (OPM) confirmed, the next several months will bring new energy and activity to formalizing and standardizing workplace policies, processes, and approaches for the "new normal" of a digital-first government.
The move to telework changed how many people view and even perform their jobs. Before the pandemic, telework was sporadically used throughout government and viewed pretty skeptically. Now that the genie is out of the bottle, it's clear that government can continue to function without people in office buildings from 9am-5pm. As in-person work starts to come back around, the new shift will be in defining and managing a hybrid workforce.
From a personnel perspective, the focus will be on providing an equitable experience for those in-person and those participating in meetings and projects virtually. Workers figured out equitable communication in an all-virtual space. Now those practices have to be re-applied to ensure fair and accessible engagement for hybrid meetings. This flexibility in work models may help with recruiting efforts for hard to fill positions, particularly those in cybersecurity.
The continued reliance on telework will impact security policies, practices, and technology moving forward. The DoD has developed the Cloud-Based Internet Isolation (CBII) solution that allows users to browse non-government websites while keeping online threats from moving onto DoD's network. This reduces endpoint attacks and bandwidth demands at the same time. This approach is expected to save DoD more than $300 million, which would have been spent t to upgrade cybersecurity tools to defend internet access points.
There are a number of events and resources available to help navigate what the government workforce of tomorrow looks like and what it needs today.
- Modernizing Gov IT and Securing Collaboration in Microsoft 365 (May 19, 2021; webcast) -- As agencies begin to transition to Microsoft Teams and other cloud collaboration systems, there are many questions to be answered and decisions to be made. This session will show best practices for how government agencies have been solving these challenges using both Microsoft native and third-party solutions.
- ATD Government Workforce 2021 (May 25-27, 2021; virtual) -- This event is designed to share human capital and talent development best practices, with an emphasis on practical application and implementation across government agencies. Through interactive sessions and panel discussions, it will focus on leadership development, employee engagement, and learning and development innovations within the public sector that impact the future development of federal employees.
- SNG Live: IT Modernization 2021 (June 24, 2021; virtual) -- The global pandemic has accelerated the need for federal and state agencies to make demonstrable progress in modernizing their IT systems. Still, IT modernization is a continuous state that agencies must achieve to refresh their systems, applications, and services on an ongoing basis. This event will focus on this theme of IT modernization, bringing together federal and state IT leaders to discuss their progress and the major challenges.
- Operational Change Management Conference 2021 (July 21, 2021; virtual) -- Organized by the The Performance Institute, a non-partisan think tank seeking to improve government transparency, this event is designed for senior career and political C-Level executives as well as program managers and analysts with lead responsibility for implementing government management improvement efforts.
- Why VDI is Important (white paper) -- Many companies are choosing to virtualize to save costs and be 'ready' in case they need to pivot fast because of natural disasters (like ice storms in Texas) or remote work demands (Covid-19 pandemic) or simply because workers need to share proprietary information and are located continents apart (like research and engineering that has been globalized).This paper looks at how to implement VDI to support these, and other goals.
- Growing a Stronger Federal Cyber Workforce (white paper) -- This report from the Cyberspace Solarium Commission (CSC) looks to identify a strategic approach to protect the United States against attacks of significant consequences in cyberspace. The Commission recommends numerous changes to policy and legislation that impact virtually every element of the cybersecurity ecosystem.