A telework checklist for government agencies

If you’re a government employee, we have one important thing to say:

THANK YOU.

While so many people are having to stop work, you and your colleagues are still showing up, continuing to deliver service to the citizen.

It’s clear that most people go into government work for to the opportunity to serve your community and your country—and we’re all grateful for that.

If you’re an government employee involved in the Continuity of Government, this important work must go on.

Luckily, there are many tools and apps that make teleworking effective and efficient. In fact, many government agencies already support a remote workforce.

This checklist is designed to help you think about the practical challenges of teleworking for your staff and to help you explore the technologies available to help.

If you’d like advice on any of the ideas found below, please contact your Sprint Government representative or visit our web page, “What We’re Doing for Government at This Time”.

__Find out who’s ready to work from home.
The U.S. Office of Personnel Management advises all government agencies to ensure that written telework agreements are in place for as many employees as possible. But don’t assume they’re ready. Ask your employees for a summary of their home set-up. Do they have reliable broadband? Up-to-date computers?

__Check your agency’s telework policy.
Telework policies are different for each government agency and are being updated frequently during the crisis. Make sure you’re complying with your agency’s latest policy on telework.

__Set up a collaboration hub.
Collaboration platforms like G-Suite and Microsoft Teams are great tools for keeping the whole team on the same page. They use channel-based communications—both direct messages and open group discussions, organized by topic. But make sure they’re approved for your agency.

__Review your data security policies.
Does everyone know the rules about handling citizen and employee data? Can you enlist the IT team to help you evaluate remote working options? You need to ensure that using a new cloud service or tool doesn’t put data at risk.

__Set up regular online meetings.
Continue your team meetings (or even increase their frequency), by using video conferencing such as Google Hangouts or Skype for Business. Record them so people can refer back.  Again, make sure they’re approved for your agency.

__Protect your network.
If allowed, consider a Virtual Private Network to connect everyone to your agency server and to protect file sharing between staff members.

__Explore cloud productivity tools.
Cloud productivity suites make every document available for collaboration and sharing. Consider Google’s G-Suite and Microsoft Office365 as well as specialized cloud-based business tools—like CRM and accounting packages— that need no software to be installed on the user’s computer.

The next tips relate directly to services that MANY telecommunications companies are offering at this time.  We have highlighted a few that are provided directly by Sprint.

 

__Encrypt your workgroup communications.
Citizen data is sensitive data. Protect it with encrypted team communications and things like auto message erase and remote locking of devices. Our service for this is called Secure Enterprise Messenger.

__Consider putting government-owned work phone numbers on employee devices.
Ask about apps that separate work calls and messages from personal ones. Again, most mobile operators offer this. Our solution is called Sprint MultiLine.

__Look at virtual phone systems instead of landlines.
The latest mobile business phone systems have the same features as office-based ones. Ours is called Omni. And Sprint Smart UC is a unified communications solution that combines a phone system with productivity/collaboration tools. Other operators offer similar services.

__Keep remote workers securely connected.
Make sure you can securely connect remote workers and locations to your office WAN. The Sprint service for this is called Sprint DataLink and other operators offer similar options.

__Make sure emergency calls get through.
During a crisis, there’s a huge surge in wireless network traffic, making it difficult for first responders and emergency services to get calls through. Sprint’s Wireless Priority Service is free to eligible organizations and it makes sure your critical calls are prioritized.

Resources for government agencies

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is the primary authority on all COVID-19 guidance and information. See also CDC’s guidance for first responders and law enforcement and for state, local territorial and tribal health departments.

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) works closely with many government agencies on the COVID-19 response. This resource page summarizes their latest guidance on human resources issues.

How to Work from Home the Right Way – A helpful Coronavirus update for employees, from the BBC in the United Kingdom.

What we’re doing to help – we are waiving late fees, cutting some international calling rates, adding free data packages, and increasing our free support for small businesses in this uncertain time. Here’s a summary:

“What you can count on at this time”.