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One CIO Speaks on Focus and Virtual Work

The opening session of the IT Leadership Forum included discussion of hybrid work and its benefits.

two people work on laptops
Agency leaders seem to agree that a hybrid workforce is finally taking hold in the state and local government space. Among speakers and panelists at the Texas IT Leadership Forum, balancing the needs of workers for uninterrupted time and the needs of teams for in-person collaboration appeared to be on many minds.

Sean Miller, CIO of the Texas Department of Banking, said during the opening session that “I don't think it's just my organization, I think a lot has changed in general, in our IT. The expectations of the state was always have somebody in the office. The way we approach our customer, way we offer our services ... everything changes in the sense of how we operate with each other and communicate with each other.”

“The old-world cubicles would have our staff around, and they would do their work, and they would all meet together,” Miller said. “There's a lot of camaraderie and a lot of really good benefits there. However, after the pandemic, we discovered a few things:

“It's nice to be alone and let our staff actually work. When they get the time to focus, they can actually get their things done: The things that they aspire to do, the things that they would train to do.

“After the pandemic, as we're in right now, it seems like we're coming to a common sense of ground here, how do we get everybody together, and at the same time allow them the freedom to exercise their thoughts and to complete their tasks where they need to?

"So, it's a different world we're living in. But it's a much different place too, a much more rewarding place from the aspects of a little bit of freedom, but a little bit more committed place.”

The IT Leadership Forum is a Government Technology event. Government Technology is a sister publication of Industry Insider — Texas, and their parent company is e.Republic.

Continuing coverage of the IT Leadership Forum will include how various agencies are approaching these issues: hybrid workforce, modernization and bringing technologists to the table.
Rae D. DeShong is a Dallas-based staff writer and has written for The Dallas Morning News and worked as a community college administrator.