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January 14, 2021

Why government must lead the migration to telecommuting

There is no doubt that the COVID-10 pandemic has changed the world in many ways. The biggest, it could be argued, is in the shift away from working in offices, and to working from home. Governments have encouraged this behaviour to help “flatten the curve”, as the theory goes that the less people interact in person with one another, the less chance the virus has to spread.

This ‘telecommuting’ has proved successful, too, and has become the norm for many organisations to the point where it’s likely to stay long after the pandemic is over.

Under these circumstances, and while the coronavirus still rages, government has the opportunity to not only adopt telecommuting for its own purposes, but lead the way.

Three main points underpin this assertion:

  1. It has the resources to do this
  2. There is a need for government services to be online and available 24/7
  3. Many government workers are knowledge workers

For those functions that don’t fall under ‘knowledge work’, smart digital tools can be deployed to bridge the gap between government and its various stakeholders.

Boxfusion has already deployed several of these – for example, our Smartgov for Citizens app – which are working incredibly well and delivering positive results.

Benefits

In addition, telecommuting has many benefits for workers, which can improve morale and mood, which can ultimately lead to improved service delivery, which is a win for everyone.

Some of these benefits include:

  • As they’re working at home, workers can enjoy a more flexible work schedule that puts them under less pressure and allows them to work at their own pace.
  • Home offices tend to offer fewer distractions than busy, bustling office spaces.
  • Workers can spend less time in traffic, which offers an immediate mood boost, and they can save on travel costs. Less time travelling means more time for work.
  • Working remotely has been proven to boost productivity. Thanks to improved flexibility, fewer distractions, and not having to spend time in traffic, remote workers tend to be more productive.
  • With more control over their work and the environment in which they labour, workers have shown a measurable increase in loyalty and satisfaction.
  • Telecommuting leads to an improved work/life balance
  • A distributed workforce that doesn’t require office space can end up saving organisations – and governments – a lot of money in the long run as they don’t need to pay for as much office space as they once might have, while supporting a similar-sized workforce.
  • Governments have a vested interest in lowering their carbon footprint, and a remote workforce is a big contributor to that goal. Less travel means lower emissions, and because 29% of greenhouse gas emissions come from the transportation sector, this is very good news for the planet.

With so many benefits to telecommuting, governments can benefit greatly from adopting that approach. And by digitising many of the services provided by government in support of that, citizens gain in the long run, too.