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How to make the best use of the telework transition

Lessons learned from EY and Government Business Council survey on government remote work that inform how leaders can support their agencies in the "new normal"


This report is a candid survey of federal, state and local government employees on telework. 

The telework transition

Things have changed. Public sector professionals are participating in one of the largest workplace experiments in history. Without preparation, they moved away from government buildings to conduct the government’s business from home. They continue to make the best of the situation, but as they indicated in a survey of federal, state and local government employees on telework conducted by Government Business Council and underwritten by EY, remote work is here to stay — and there is clearly room for improvement. EY supports commercial and public sector organizations navigating this transition and offers the following considerations.


  • Recruiting: If remote work is possible, can we tap a wider employee pool for select positions? Are there new skills we should be considering for specific positions?
  • Training: What new training topics may be required to support an effective remote workforce?
  • Communications: Can we reimagine more efficient meetings and messaging? More immediately, are we maintaining proactive communications to provide guidance and expectations for remote work and return to work?


  • Operational model: If we decide we can have remote workers, can we have remote teams operating across time zones to allow for extended processing time?
  • Process improvement: Some processes cannot be done off-site very well, so what processes can be automated or redesigned?
  • Policies: What new policies and procedures are required for the return-to-work phase and for the potential of long-term remote work?


  • Infrastructure: What technologies (telecommunication, network, etc.) work, and what do not? Is our infrastructure adequate?
  • Security: Does our security support wide-scale remote work? What new threats should be considered?
  • Collaboration: Do our tools support collaboration and knowledge sharing?


Build a road map for transition and transformation

The response to COVID-19 has changed priorities, behaviors and expectations, making those in government roles rethink the way they do business and engage with their workforces. Resilience has become front and center and has put agency leaders in the spotlight as problem solvers. Consider the return to work by applying a two-gear approach:

  1. Reopening: Deliver a trusted transition focused on employee health and safety
  2. Transforming: Create a future-focused transformation that reimagines an optimized workplace for the long term
For an agency to manage the change resulting from this remote work experience, we recommend a transition and transformation road map to visualize how leaders can maintain momentum on critical initiatives through a focus on building their organizational culture and strengthening team performance across the workforce. Resilience and adaptability have become front and center and have put agency leaders in the spotlight as problem solvers. 



At EY, we help governments create new ways of working, with the aim of achieving better outcomes for our communities and better experiences for government employees. We deliver integrated capabilities (digital, financial, supply chain, change and performance management to name a few) that are required to address the most pressing challenges in the public sector.