Preparing For the Government’s Reentry to the Workplace
Following a June 10, 2021 Order from the White House Administration, a Federal Task Force has charged all agencies with completing their plan for reentry by July 19, 2021. This includes,
“how and when to return an increased number of employees and contractors, as appropriate, in-person to the Federal workplace – as well as their intended post-reentry personnel policies.”
This plan will be phased by reentry and post-reentry and will focus on the health and safety of Federal employees and contractors. In the short-term, reentry phase, agencies will ensure the workplace is clean, capacity is monitored, and a way to contact trace is enabled in case of a COVID positive result. In the longer-term, post-reentry phase, agencies need to start thinking and planning to meet the requirements to support a long-term trend, the Hybrid Workplace.
“Agencies should also consider broader workforce and workplace trends and the need for the Federal Government to be competitive for top talent as employers in the broader labor market. Leverage telework, remote work, and flexible work schedules as tools in their broader strategies for talent recruitment and retention.”
So, what should Agencies know before making plans, and how can they get started easily and quickly with the right supporting technology? Let’s dive in.
Phase 1: Reentry With Safety Measures in Place
Managing physical distancing and occupancy limits is not as easy as spacing desks 6 feet apart and manning the front door with a bouncer ready to turn away the first person over capacity! Agencies need to implement a system for booking desks and collaboration spaces that automatically manages capacity and distancing, but still allows employees the flexibility and power to choose where they want or need to work for that day whether in the office or from home. A flexible and easy-to-use Workplace management and booking system gives you the foundation for a safe and seamless reentry.
[Download the Guide to Getting Back to the Workplace]
Phase 2: Post-Reentry – Building a Hybrid Workplace for the Federal Workforce
The June 10 mandate guidelines encourage Agencies to consider “long-term trends to shape the future of work in the Federal context.” Most Agencies have already been shifting to a remote-friendly workplace, but with the new comfort in “Work from Anywhere” both employees and managers have found throughout the pandemic, the trend is leaning towards a fully-flexible Federal workplace leveraging “telework, remote work, and flexible work schedules.” But not everyone wants to, or can, work from home all the time, so agencies should be prepared to support a Hybrid Workplace in which employees can work wherever is best for them on that day.
A hybrid workplace is a flexible workplace practice that empowers employees to work where and when they want, usually by balancing their time between office work and remote work.
Providing a hybrid workplace can benefit everyone,
- when given choice and flexibility, employees feel more satisfied with their job
- offering hybrid work means employers can attract and retain top talent
- and organizations can see money savings in real estate costs
As with your Phase 1 reentry plan, in order to successfully create a hybrid workplace for the post-reentry plan, Agencies will need to find a flexible workplace resource booking software. This software can help manage four important parts of the reentry and post-reentry phases: Technology, Occupancy, Utilization, & Shared Spaces.
[Learn about Forum, AgilQuest’s Workplace Management Software here.]
When remote work was made a necessity in March 2020, organizations saw where they succeeded and were defeated in their telework abilities. Many agencies were successful, already having cloud-based tools and technology that made working from home possible. But there are still some areas that could use improvement.
Agencies can utilize smart building technology to provide a touchless and seamless office experience and automatically integrate with building systems like HVAC and security. Plus, as mentioned earlier, a workplace management software is necessary for supporting a post-reentry, hybrid workplace. These new technologies should be evaluated and easily piloted to ensure it is what your Agency needs. With the right technology-enabled organization-wide, employees can Work From Anywhere.
It is still very important for agencies to control occupancy within the building. With a workplace management software, it can be controlled automatically and behind scenes. Floorplans can be created that put distance between available workspaces. Your software can work dynamically so when one workspace is reserved, the desks within 6-feet around it become unavailable. And reservations can become unavailable once workspaces reach max capacity.
For long-term planning, your workplace booking and management software answers questions about how your workforce uses your workplace. Knowing this information means you can re-work your environment to provide the types of spaces your employees use most. Plus, understanding the actual utilization of your space could save you money because with a hybrid workforce it may be possible to downsize space.
Measuring actual utilization can be done in a number of ways with AgilQuest Forum’s advanced analytics engine through integrations already used every day by Federal employees. Presence can be verified and matched with space reservations through the following integrations:
- Security badge/Access Control Systems
- Geo-presence Proximity Detection via Mobile Apps
- Network Logon event
- Manual Check-in via mobile app, web-based, Lobby Kiosk, or digital signs
Federal agencies may have underutilized space that could be shared across different government agencies, whether for convenience, safety, or to allow for the reduction and consolidation of federal real estate. Forum, AgilQuest’s Workplace Management Software, is the ONLY software that allows organizations to share space with other Accounts for employees to reserve space in other agencies’ buildings.
As written in the mandate,
“Sharing underutilized resources across the Government will enhance cost savings. General office and meeting space must be considered for the possibility of being shared. Sharing defrays the cost to design, build, and maintain space that is similar across agencies. It can also provide flexibility to deal with the uncertainty of future real estate needs.”
Many federal agencies already use AgilQuest Forum, so allowing cross-access to those workspaces would open that network of space for federal employees.
So, let Forum help you utilize your space and easily follow the M1-21-25 Federal Mandate.
Forum By AgilQuest For Federal Government Agencies
A Workplace Resource Booking Software, like AgilQuest Forum, can help with your reentry and post-reentry plan. It’s an intuitive system from which end users and administration benefit and love to use. Don’t just take our word for it.
“[Forum] is easier than booking a hotel or flight, it’s less information than that. That’s why it’s been so successful with our employees. And now in this COVID world, they realize it’s something that’s also keeping them safe.”
Office Manager, AgilQuest Forum Customer
Download our Guide to the Federal Workplace with AgilQuest Forum to learn more about how Forum can work for your agency and then set up a demo to see it in action.