Oct 02 2020

State and Local Agencies Augment Their Telework with Video

Videoconferencing brings remote agency teams together.

Like many local governments, King County, Wash., ordered its employees to work from home when the COVID-19 crisis struck earlier this year. And the county’s $13 million technology investment in collaboration tools, particularly for videoconferencing, paid off during the work-from-home order, when more than 5,400 people started working away from the office.

Tanya Hannah, CIO and director of King County IT, says that the county has long believed in the power of conferencing, supporting smart rooms through Microsoft Surface hubs and Teams as well as Zoom.

“Before COVID-19, some managers felt very strongly that employees needed to be in the office,” Hannah says. “This experience has changed their perception. Many of the department directors have been pleasantly surprised at the increased productivity from employees, lower absenteeism and better morale.”

“A technology like Zoom has been so popular because we need breakout rooms, as we now conduct more meetings. It’s been fascinating to witness how people have adapted to the technology,” she adds.

Kate Lister, president of Global Workplace Analytics, believes that videoconferencing has removed some obstacles to teleworking for government agencies. Videoconferencing fosters inclusion among managers, inspires productivity for employees and bridges otherwise insurmountable distances among team members.

“When people start talking about telework, one of the first questions managers ask is, ‘What...

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Stuart Bradford/Theispot