Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC) has published an independent survey, conducted by Market Connections, of C-level federal government executives. The survey gauged their opinions of how COVID-19 has shifted the workforce.
“The pandemic introduced unprecedented challenges for federal agencies, especially those in agencies charged with public health and economic security,” said Mark Forman, vice president, digital government strategy, SAIC.
The report found that the majority of respondents expect the integrated technology platforms, as a response to COVID-19, to become permanent ways of conducting business. Federal agencies have rapidly transitioned to virtual work environments.
As a result, 84 percent of respondents reported they are more or equally as productive since shifting to remote work, with 82 percent stating that they expect remote work to continue into the future. The survey found that 41 percent of respondents expect to telework an average three days a week after the pandemic, and 41 percent expect to telework four or five days a week.
The survey polled 300 federal government respondents on their perceptions surrounding the challenges and requirements faced in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The results revealed a significant spike in federal telework. 56 percent of respondents reported they are somewhat more productive or a lot more productive as a result of increased telework.
“There is no question about the dedication of the federal workforce to perform their mission in the pandemic, but it would not have been possible without IT. And as the survey showed, people working in health-related agencies not only moved online, but worked on average more than five days a week. For that, we are very grateful,” Forman added.
Respondents also identified a number of challenges associated with remote work; safely returning to the workplace; and guarding against fraud, waste, and abuse. 77 percent reported they found it extremely or somewhat challenging managing federal IT systems to maximize telework. 75 percent reported they found it extremely or somewhat challenging detecting fraud, waste and abuse during the pandemic.
“At the same time, the pandemic has changed government operations, with digital transformation now viewed as essential,” Forman concluded. “The work environment of the future will be built around secure online access to data, applications, and collaboration tools.”