Survey Says: Remote Work is Working

Did you know that 63% of all employed adults in the U.S. are currently working from home? COVID-19 is having an unprecedented impact on individuals, society and business and may reshape the way we work. Many people may assume that government employees would have a difficult time transitioning to remote work. However, here in Gilbert, Arizona, we made a quick transition while keeping all of our lines of service operational to serve residents and businesses.  

Gilbert acted swiftly to keep employees safe while maintaining service delivery and transitioned its workforce to remote where possible. This preparation and proactive approach to help flatten the curve of the spread of the virus helped safeguard our workforce and community. As of May 11th, there has not been a single positive COVID-19 case within Gilbert’s municipal workforce.

After an abrupt transition to a new way of working, we wanted to hear from employees about how they were feeling about remote work and what they would like to see in the future.

All employees were encouraged to fill out a remote work survey between April 23rd to April 30th. We received 646 responses, which is 46% of the organization (around 1,400 employees).

72% of respondents indicated they were currently working remote. Of the 28% of respondents currently not working remote, 91% identified themselves as essential personnel (such as police officers, public works staff, or firefighters) and 79% said they cannot do their job virtually.

Productivity, Communication and Connectivity

66% of respondents said their productivity had improved (rating 4-5). Communication and Connectivity were also rated the same or improved. Connectivity means being able to stay connected to colleagues, through meetings and collaboration.

Gilbert is focused on developing forward-thinking policies to better serve and engage the public digitally. Internally, we incorporated Microsoft Teams in the fall of 2019 as another digital resource to collaborate across the organization. The graphs below show how email and Teams usage has changed over the past few months and have become new tools to measuring productivity, communication and connectivity.

Location Preferences

75% of respondents indicated they would like to continue working remotely. 72% indicated they would prefer to work in a combination of home and being in the office. This is comparable to a recent study by IBM of more than 25,000 respondents indicating more than 75% would like to continue working remotely at least occasionally.

Challenges

56% of respondents did not identify a challenge working from home and 49% did not identify additional needs, both of which speak to the flexible work environment infrastructure Gilbert already had in place.

Quality of Life, Experience and Feelings

86% of respondents rated their experience working remotely great or good (5 or 4 on the scale) while 78% also reported their quality of life has improved or slightly improved (5 or 4 on the scale).

To gauge emotional well-being, employees were asked to select all of the feelings they have regularly felt during this time. Appreciation, enjoyment and happiness ranked as the top feelings from employees who are currently working remotely and also who are not working remotely.

The remote work survey results, along with guidance from the CDC, and ongoing communication with staff are key components in developing the future of work in Gilbert and government innovation. Ensuring a safe, clean environment for employees is also a top priority. Now is the time to innovate and rethink the way Gilbert works to continue to provide services to the community in the way they want to receive them into the future.

Growth and Development