Federal and state government agencies have offices all over the country, some to support administrative operations and others serve the public directly, such as VA clinics or Division of Motor Vehicle sites. Many of these locations have been closed over the last year and a half—yet governmental services and operations have continued.
What are the network implications for government agencies thrust into this new operational model?
Employees and contractors starting working from home and using home internet services to have Teams meetings and Zoom calls. Workers used VPN connections to connect securely. But if they had spotty, slow or no service, they had to become their own IT support person to solve the problem. Consider an agency with 200 offices and 10,000 employees. Now they have 10,000 additional sites to support. The network must be extended to connect work from home sites with reliable, secure and high-performance broadband.
As federal, state and local government restrictions begin to ease, workers are returning to the office – but not exclusively. Hybrid work environments are emerging, where employees go into the office for two or three days and work remotely at other times. This represents an opportunity for government agencies to recruit potential employees who do not live near an office or prefer to work remotely. This may be especially true for younger professionals who will look for a more flexible work environment.
There is an opportunity for agencies to acknowledge this new dynamic and proactively seek to transform their networks. Each agency will require unique strategies, such as identifying prime contracting partners that can get connectivity and capabilities to individual homes, no matter where employees may live.
This will not happen overnight and it will not be easy. It will take a longer vision and several years to implement. Even as restrictions are removed, we won’t go back to how we once worked or where we worked. Government agencies have an opportunity to attract and retain employees and give them tools to work securely from anywhere.