Five Ways Local Government Employees Use Technology to Work Remotely After COVID Shutdowns

-By Heather Locke, Polco/NRC

This is part of a two part series about remote work.

One of the revelations of the COVID crisis in local governments is how effective and productive employees are at working remotely. While there were pockets of remote work in local government prior to 2020, the crisis has pushed local governments to pivot quickly into virtual work environments. Fortunately technology and employees have been up to the task. 

Here are five ways technology has been effective in how employees are working remotely:

  1. Telecommuting. Cloud-based computing and platforms to host virtual meetings have been used to tremendous effect in the local government sphere during the crisis. Employees are able to respond to community requests and continue to work on projects within their teams. They are able to do their jobs well with email, forwarded phones, and virtual meetings. 
  2. Social Media. There is never too much accurate information when it comes to a crisis. Residents are hungry for updates, for information, for details, and for new rules. Facebook Live and Youtube have been used by many jurisdictions to host live briefings that are recorded and can be replayed by residents on-demand.
  3. Remote public meetings. Many states have relaxed rules about in-person meetings, so that they can be conducted on a virtual platform. The public can text, call or email rather than attend in person.
  4. Remote work sessions. This can be tremendously stress-reducing for staff to meet from home for budgeting and other work sessions. Meeting remotely can be very productive and less stressful than attempting to meet in person and conduct lengthy meetings.
  5. Moving classes online. Library and Parks and Recreation employees are taking advantage of online platforms to host exercise classes, virtual tours of art shows, and storytime. The community can still engage with health, education and fitness opportunities led by employees at home.

This quick pivot into remote working may have lasting effects on how work is conducted in the “new normal.” 

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