Regional Government Services (RGS) was excited to host a workshop for local government agencies to discuss the challenges of implementing remote and hybrid work policies in local government. RGS is a virtual organization with many years of experience in remote work policies, making it the ideal organization to partner in this important conversation.
The workshop was held on Friday, May 13 at the Monterey Plaza Hotel and Spa in Monterey, CA. Attendees included RGS leadership and staff, the RGS Executive Committee of its Board, and several local leaders from the Monterey region. The workshop was facilitated by Gary Petersen and Chris Sliz from RGS’ Training and Development service line.
|Dan Buckshi||City Manager||Walnut Creek||RGS Board|
|Liz Habkirk||Assistant City Manager||Napa||RGS Board|
|Steve Rogers||Town Manager||Yountville||RGS Board|
|Brent Slama||City Manager||Soledad||RGS Board|
|Hilary Straus||General Manager||Citrus Heights Water District||RGS Board|
|Linda Smith||City Manager||Dublin||RGS Board|
|Guy Preston||Executive Director||Santa Cruz County RTC||Local Area Leader|
|Don Reynolds||City Manager||San Juan Bautista||Local Area Leader|
|DeWayne Woods||Assistant County Administrator||Monterey County||Local Area Leader|
During the workshop, attendees discussed the various challenges and successes of remote and hybrid work in local government agencies. Key themes emerged around the nexus of community, employees, and culture.
Attendees quickly identified the importance of providing high-quality services to our communities as a top priority. In considering changes to local government brought about by remote work, participants also noted that it was essential not to lose sight that our citizens dramatically changed their relationships with us over the pandemic.
Remaining engaged with our constituents and customers while working together to adopt new practices and policies to meet the new expectations of our citizens is essential. As one City Manager put it, “we must build constant feedback loops to understand what our citizens need and want from us.”
When considering the wants and needs of employees and how they might work together remotely or in the office, attendees acknowledged that there must be a good reason “why” employees must be present in the office. It is essential to focus on ensuring that we continue to provide effective, high-quality services to our community in this process.
With that understanding, participants indicated that when employees were in the workplace together, building, adapting, and retaining organizational culture and teamwork needed to be a priority. This is core to our ability to serve our community effectively. However, agencies must adapt cultures to incorporate remote workers into the communication and cadences of the organization, so they are not left out.
Attendees recognized that local government needed to consider the workforce that could not work remotely. The many dedicated public safety personnel, public works maintenance departments, and other employees who need to be physically present to serve in frontline positions with our community must be considered in this conversation to ensure fairness and equity.
Meeting participants also remarked that while remote work was required during the pandemic, it now must be considered a privilege and not a right. However, if agencies want to attract the talent they need, they must adapt to remote and hybrid work or face smaller, less qualified talent pools.
Municipalities and agencies must grapple with unprecedented challenges in reaching an agreement with our communities and employees about what work looks like and how services will be delivered. Most important is understanding that we are facing the most significant change in the workweek since weekends were allowed in the 1930s. If we are to succeed, we must recognize that the transition to remote and hybrid work is under way.
RGS will be collecting more detailed notes and information from this workshop and distributing to attendees. We are looking forward to continued conversations about remote and hybrid work. We are interested in hearing from additional agency leaders and will be convening future sessions to explore this monumental shift in how local government gets work done.
Please contact Rich Oppenheim, RGS Administrative Services Manager, at email@example.com or 650-587-7313, to be included in messaging about upcoming activities.
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