The past two years have taken government agencies and employees on a technological journey. After strictly adhering to in-person work, organizations saw potential in hybrid arrangements — initially because they had no choice, but over time because on-site/off-site work could balance the needs of employers and employees.
But hybrid models require special IT infrastructure and tools many agencies lacked early on and may not fully appreciate today, said Brian Radovich, Principle Product Manager with SolarWinds, a firm providing monitoring and management software.
“Agencies are always looking to innovate, but big innovations like the changes that have occurred over the past two years are generally done over longer periods of time,” he said.
Hybrid work arrangements will endure, and organizations should keep certain things in mind as they transition to more permanent models, Radovich explained.
Flexibility. Agencies need virtual private networks, security and identification protocols, and other fundamental IT functions to make remote work possible. However, services often are tied to insufficient legacy or on-premises systems when employees largely work remotely, Radovich said.
“Sometimes it’s a lot easier to move services into the cloud, where you can scale them up and down to meet bandwidth requirements,” he explained. “IT folks have tried to address it in a way that isn’t temporary, that foresees the future of [hybrid work] being more common.”
“It makes the organization more flexible, more adaptable, and better able to provide the same level of service their customers and constituents expect,” he continued. This includes weathering difficulties, being able to “fail over quickly” when outages occur, and fostering collaboration.
Prioritization. Budgets are always a concern, so agencies must prioritize and coordinate.
“We never have enough money to do all the things we want to do when we want to do them,” Radovich said. “But being able to set priorities — especially when the environment’s changing very rapidly — and say, ‘These are the most important things,’ to get all the stakeholders to buy into that and then be able to start implementing them is critical.”
Visibility. Organizations want and need more visibility into the effectiveness of their systems — particularly as on-site/off-site work arrangements become more common — and SolarWinds provides these capabilities, Radovich said.
“Whatever you need to do, our products become sort of the Swiss Army® knife of customizing to support your hybrid environment,” he explained. This includes helping agencies monitor their networks, servers, applications, clouds, and other IT elements to ensure they’re performing well.
When asked to describe agencies’ transition to hybrid work, Radovich called it a “slow success” and said hybrid arrangements will help determine future success.
“If you’ve got people who are invested, who want to work in a government entity and to serve constituents, you don’t want barriers to stop them from working, right? For those folks who can work remotely, work effectively, I think it’s critical for the success of any government organization to allow them to,” Radovich said.
This article is an excerpt from GovLoop’s guide “Solving Your Hybrid Workforce Problems.”