Steps for Local Government to enable remote work

13 Mar 2020

Just as Governor Baker’s State of Emergency regarding the COVID-19 outbreak encourages as much remote work by state employees as possible, we anticipate many of our member municipalities will also be exploring that option as this situation evolves.

Novus Insight – PVPC’s private sector Municipal IT program partner – has offered the following advice to us and encouraged us to share it with our region’s local governments in order to ensure all communities that wish to allow their municipal employees to work remotely are able to do so where applicable.

Here is some guidance and a few suggestions they offer as you consider a remote work plan:

  • If you don’t already have one, create a clearly articulated remote work policy.
  • The 2 biggest challenges facing organizations in this type of transition stem from insufficient technology to fully support remote work and employee discomfort with a new way of working. Working away from the normalcy of an office can be quite challenging for people who are not used to it and suddenly thrust into it. To maintain productivity and morale, our experience has shown it's usually well worth the extra effort to make remote work as collaborative and like work in the office as possible.  
  • Towards making sure every employee can do their job fully from home, survey employees to understand what each currently has at home for hardware/software and connectivity. We can help with crafting a survey if you need it. The responses will help dictate the existing capability levels and help determine the least expensive, quickest-to-implement options for rapidly enabling a remote work program. For some employees, be prepared to invest in mobile hot spots or to provide stipends for upgrading internet access plans.
  • Involve a cybersecurity expert who can recommend the right type of secure access to your organization’s networks, data, communication channels, and applications. If time will allow for proper implementation and training, strongly consider two-factor authentication login instead of just user ID and password to access these systems.
  • Prepare quick-start guides for the use of new technology or features of existing software that need to be implemented such as Teams in Office 365. 
  • Find technology mentors and early adopters in your organization who can help other employees and lead by example.
  • Accelerate evaluation of cloud solutions that are much more friendly to remote work than legacy or natively-developed applications running on premise-based servers.  

They are available to advise and help work through the many challenges associated with a rapid shift to remote work.

To schedule a consultation, please contact your Novus site lead or Novus Remote Support (860.282.4200 – option 1, or