Federal agencies have dabbled in flex-days for several years as, more or less, a social experiment. Flex-days are typically restricted to one day per week and rotated throughout an Operating Division in order to ensure office coverage in a given month. There were many drivers behind the work-from-home, “WFH”, or teleworking movement—but mainly Human Resource concerns such as employee job satisfaction, workforce retention, traffic congestion and commuter stress.
Unfortunately, the Federal Government never made a true commitment to full-time teleworking. Transitioning to a completely distributed workforce requires a commitment from management, cross-functional communication, planning, and most importantly, the provisioning of an operating stack of resources, tools, and essential services that can be uniformly accessed by the remote worker.
The Federal workforce has been unprepared and ill-equipped to perform mission-critical functions under restricted work-from-home and shelter-in-place directives. A recent FNN article noted that more than 77% of the Federal workforce has been mandated to telework.
David Summers, Head of Government Relations at the Project Management Institute, recently spoke on Federal Drive with Tom Temin about the critical need for collaboration and synchronicity in order to successfully manage federal programs across a disconnected workforce. We must extend the availability of tools commonly used by virtual teams in the private sector to respond to the challenges faced by our existing federal communications and program management frameworks.
The Federal workplace has suddenly changed, perhaps permanently. Teleworkers need tools to coordinate and synchronize with private sector efforts in support of critical missions. Additionally, the public sector must embrace an emerging class of agile applications and shared micro-services that deliver workforce automations enabling compliance with data capture and reporting requirements under expenditures related to pandemic response.
On Friday, April 10th, the Office of Management and Budget issued an important Memorandum; M-20-21 addresses new data capture and reporting requirements under the subject “Implementation Guidance for Supplemental Funding Provided in Response to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)”. The Memorandum calls for line item data capture for all COVID-related procurement actions inclusive of all micropurchases. This action is most appropriate in light of the increase in micropurchase thresholds now currently reaching a maximum of $30,000/P.O.
Additionally, the M-20-21 memo specifies that agency Deputy Secretaries or Chief Operating Officers must review the progress made on program performance under the COVID-19 relief legislation at least quarterly.
This pandemic is a call to action for raising the stature and importance of teleworkforce automation in the use, capture, and reporting of all Federal taxpayer funds. Agency’s micropurchasing programs must provide paperless automations for the burdens and limitations associated with teleworking.
Does your agency have the tools to be productive from home for weeks (or months) at a time? How do requests for procurement get routed and approved during a global lockdown? How does the field staff communicate new shipping addresses necessitated by dislocations? How are requestors updated about backorders and coordinate on the receiving of goods and asset management? What is your plan to meet the data requirements outlined in M-20-21?
Actus by Paperless Innovations, Inc. delivers on WFH automation for government!
- Connect remote cross-functional project management teams with each other and program oversight.
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- Bring Accountability, Compliance and Transparency to your remote program oversight.
- Compress the cycle times for requisition, payment and audit for mission critical goods and services.