Will cities work remotely? Officials still have unanswered questions

Last year technology executives were tasked with suddenly transitioning thousands of city employees and public students to remote work and learning environments. Now, as the public sector gradually opens for in-person government services and business, there are more questions than answers surrounding what the “new normal” of city government will look like.

Government leaders are now considering how the remote workforce should return to city hall and how video-conferencing, digital chatbots, and other virtual collaboration tools will continue to be employed.

Questions to be answered include: “‘Are we going to continue to have people working remotely? Are we going to go into a hybrid environment? Is the pandemic technology to be supported as part of a longer-term strategy?”

As the country moves towards greater vaccination numbers and decreasing infection rates, working from home may become the norm for many government employees and municipalities should begin to prepare for that change.

Some localities were transitioning to a more mobile workforce even before the pandemic, but are continuing to plan to deploy additional devices to employee homes to establish remote connectivity. One consideration is to determine whether to keep various digital government services, like streaming and enabling real-time online commenting during city council meetings, available. Additionally, citizens are not going to want to come to city hall and stand in line for hours to make applications or completes various forms

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