The future of work is hybrid: Why city and county workers need secure access
With the United States now leading the world in the rollout of vaccination programs, there’s a sense of optimism that many aspects of life may soon return to normal. But the big question for city, local, state and federal government agencies of all sizes isn’t necessarily about how to safely bring employees back to the office, but whether they actually should—or even need to—bring employees back.
Regardless of whether it’s physically safe to return to our workplaces, there’s a lot more going on behind the scenes. At the city and county level, especially, there are always going to be some roles that involve direct interaction with the public and vendors, making an office environment a necessity. But for others, that may not be the case.
According to a survey conducted by PwC, private sector companies are bracing for a new, much more flexible “hybrid” work environment where employees work part-time from home and part-time from an office. Offices aren’t expected to disappear, but they may be transformed into shared spaces with more hot desks.
We’re already seeing this play out, with large companies like Ford announcing plans for its non-production workforce to move to this kind of hybrid working environment rather than rushing back to the office. In an interview with CNBC, Ford’s chief people and employee experiences officer, Kiersten Robinson, expressed what we’ve already come to realize: “If there’s one thing we’ve learned over the last 12 months, it is that a lot of our assumptions around work and what employees need has shifted.”
What does this mean for local government agencies, already stretched for manpower and lacking the budgets of private corporations? Will the expectations be different? Will government employees be given freedom and flexibility to choose their own schedules? The short answer is yes, probably, but it’s going to be messy for a while. The important factor is that remote work is here to stay, so public and private sector organizations will need to provide tools that make remote working just as secure and productive as it would be in a typical office environment.
The experience of first responders and public safety teams can perhaps lead the way. For years, these organizations have focused on being out in the field, relying on a mixed bag of patchy Wi-Fi and cellular networks, and constantly switching between connections as they moved.
In the case of Coweta County, Ga., replacing a persistently crashing VPN with a more modern remote access solution gave their front-line personnel stable, secure connections.
To read the complete article, visit American City & County.