Remote Work May Help with Recruitment
State and local officials suspect many agencies may retain significant remote workforces once the coronavirus crisis has passed. In the 2020 Deloitte-NASCIO Cybersecurity Study, the authors suggest remote workforces could open the door for states to hire gig workers or workers with special skills as needed, providing agencies and employees with even greater flexibility.
In Missouri, CIO Jeff Wann reports that agencies can now reach further across the state to hire qualified candidates, looking for talent in cities like St. Louis and Kansas City instead of simply within Jefferson City, the state capital.
Rhodes says he has seen nearly full employment in technology fields across Atlanta and hopes more expertise may be waiting in the rural areas of Georgia. Perhaps some qualified tech experts seek quiet country living but are no less knowledgeable and engaged than their urban peers. The state would like to leverage the new remote work landscape to find such employees.
Agencies Might Save on Office Space
According to the Center for State and Local Government Excellence, state agencies are more likely than local to offer remote work.
Local governments provide more direct services to citizens of their jurisdictions, requiring direct interaction in matters related to public safety, parks and recreation, infrastructure maintenance, and tax collection. By contrast, states administer benefits programs and manage regulations — functions that are easier to do from a distance.
This reality provides state governments with opportunities to glean budget savings by reducing their physical footprints. In Kansas, roughly 75 percent of state employees shifted to telework during the pandemic. Though many may return to offices, officials may reconsider the amount of office space they truly require.
Agencies spending less money on physical buildings can prioritize other budget items or may find savings if facing financial shortfalls due to decreases in tax revenue.
Internal Resources May Help with Cybersecurity
In 2018, Deloitte and NASCIO proposed bold plays to obtain cybersecurity breakthroughs. One of these plays was expanding the talent pool by leveraging public-private partnerships and building on relationships with local colleges and universities.
The organizations revisited the idea in 2020 and found more states now outsourced cybersecurity functions. For example, 60 percent of states now outsource cyberthreat assessments, compared with 43 percent in 2018. But government confidence in third parties has diminished in the meantime, with 81 percent of states only somewhat or not very confident in third parties’ cybersecurity practices.
Officials may find that an internal remote workforce provides the magic mix that allays these fears. Agencies can ensure the endpoint security of their networks and they can roll out uniform onboarding and training processes to all employees, regardless of location.