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Hybrid work is enhancing government’s impact at every level by improving collaborative outcomes and delivering better employee experiences. That’s why the ability of government to provide a secure and user-friendly hybrid work environment has become a necessity. We’re seeing that the most successful government agencies are ones that have pivoted their services and work environments to be more flexible and resilient to accommodate hybrid work. And the results are positive, as revealed in the recent 2023 Hybrid Work in Government Survey conducted by Market Connections for Cisco.

Acceptance of hybrid work now normalized in government

According to the hybrid work survey, the acceptance of hybrid work by government employees across the state, local, and federal levels is strong, with the majority of respondents stating they spend three days, on average, working remotely with just two days in-office. This is down slightly from last year’s survey response of five days a week on average working remote, primarily due to many government agencies re-opening their offices fully. The fact that the majority of workdays remain remote reflects an acceptance of the hybrid work approach by workers, and a normalization of the strategy across government.

Hybrid work in government survey released

Hybrid work survey respondents are satisfied with their current remote work arrangement, with 88% very or somewhat satisfied. This mirrors last year’s results, again showing a stabilization in how the government workforce feels about hybrid work. Some key insights include over eight in ten respondents agreeing that implementing hybrid work has improved continuity of operations within their organizations. This suggests hybrid work policies bode well for efforts within government to increase resilience and break down silos. A similar number, 84%, also report an improved work-life balance. And 86% consider the ability to work remotely as important in any future role, a response that indicates hybrid work policies may help government’s ability to recruit and retain talent.

Hybrid Work in Government Survey reveals productivity is strong

The high number of respondents who feel their work-life balance has improved may be a key driver of similar attitudes towards productivity. The Hybrid Work in Government Survey results indicate that working remote is driving productivity, with 82% stating they feel just as productive, or more productive, than in the office. This high number potentially reflects the effectiveness of collaboration software, such as Cisco Webex for Government, to speed frictionless information sharing and communication both within and across teams.

In fact, respondents’ satisfaction with the collaboration software used in their agencies rose significantly, up 11% over last year to an astonishing 97%. When asked why they’re so satisfied, they report it is due to the software working as expected and having a real impact on their work. Also, that it is simple to use and “user friendly.”

Security in hybrid work

The need to keep security at the forefront when managing government networks, devices, and data is also reflected in workers’ reports of threats they’ve encountered over the last year. For example, four in ten indicate experiencing an increase in security threats encountered on the networks. The same number also feel secure access to the tools and resources they use daily, from anywhere on any device, must be balanced with the quality of user experience. Positively, government employees report that both concerns have declined year-over-year.

About three-quarters of all hybrid work survey respondents state they’re using a work-issued or personal smartphone to connect to virtual meetings. This suggests that acceptance of mobile devices for collaboration among government workers has gone mainstream. But it also reinforces the need for government organizations to prioritize multi-factor authentication tools, like FedRAMP Authorized Cisco Duo, and network security solutions like Cisco Umbrella for Government, to secure access to and for their networks.

The future

The public sector faces a much different technology landscape than just a four years ago, a trend accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic. It is critical that IT leaders in government continue their push towards modernization, making sure their infrastructure can securely and reliably handle the long-term transition to hybrid work.

With the accelerated adoption of mobile wireless devices, virtual meeting and collaboration software has become a key tool for government. As hybrid work environments continue to mature as an accepted and beneficial part of life for government employees, we are confident that the positive trends indicated in the survey will continue. By working together, the public and private sector can continue to sculpt a hybrid work model for government that is secure, reliable, and trusted.

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Authors

Marcus Moffett

Vice President of U.S. Public Sector Engineering

U.S. Public Sector