State and Local Agencies Keep Pandemic Workplace Lessons in Focus

Balance, collaboration and flexibility are the dominant themes for the government workplaces of the future, according to state and local officials who spoke last month at the Adobe Experience Makers Government Forum in Washington, D.C.

The panelists were optimistic about their workforces, but also forthcoming about the challenges experienced during the pandemic.

Among the points stressed by the panelists are:

There has been a change in mindset, in that everything doesn’t have to be perfectly planned out, and we’re more collaborative in finding a solution to an issue and moving on it.

In Hennepin County, Minn., to move roughly 6,500 people to a remote work environment leadership learned just how ready they were for some aspects of telework and some areas where there were gaps existed.

Remote Teams Gained Collaboration Confidence with Quick Wins

Although the core remote work capabilities were functional, Hennepin County struggled to get additional equipment to employees’ homes and  solicit worker feedback and develop solutions.

In the thick of the pandemic, the team at Virginia Information Technologies Agency (VITA) decided to temporarily scrap long-term plans and focus on quick wins.

They developed three-week challenges including, ‘We need a dashboard for X, Y, Z. The data’s coming from seven different systems. Figure out how you might implement this and come back to us.’

Incorporating Work-From-Home Lessons into Practice

The time at home gave government offices time to develop some best practices, which they plan to continue in the foreseeable future including a continuation of online collaboration and quick rollouts, a skill learned during the pandemic.

During the pandemic, the use of communication tools for simple things like a quick check-in or team meetings in the middle of the day resulted in the ability for people who worked early shifts or late shifts to quickly log on, get a little bonding going on and a little morale boost for those who were isolated. Now, as people are coming back in, many locations are much more collaborative

Workplace flexibility has also been a key factor for employee retention. VITA is  looking at different strategies to maintain that flexibility to allow people to still care for their children

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