From Jan. 9 to 10, 4.5 inches of snow fell across the Atlanta region. The city was ill prepared to deal with the snow; traffic ground to a halt, the ever-busy airport closed and supermarkets quickly ran out of basic supplies.
Feds across the country, and especially in the Washington, D.C. and Chicago areas, have dealt with similar problems recently. These events have shown how much disruption some snow can cause, and recent preemptive announces by the Office of Personnel Management prove how important the forecast is to government activities.
But for the General Services Administration (GSA) in the Atlanta-area, it was a case study in how mobile work can provide continuous government services while keeping employees safely at home.
For the several days that businesses, local government agencies and schools were shut down, virtually all of the 1,000 GSA employees in the area were teleworking, according to GSA regional administrator Shyam Reddy.
GSA employees in that region had been given laptops with remote access to their work computers and the capability to access their work phones on their computers, allowing them to work from home.
Employees held virtual meetings, face-to-face teleconferences, closed a 20-acre land purchase on behalf of a federal law enforcement agency and finished planning for the re dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr., federal building scheduled for Jan. 14.
“We basically had all the tools we needed to recreate the office but in the virtual world,” Reddy said.”We weren’t going to let a winter storm get in the way of the Martin Luther King Jr., re dedication.”
He said that more than 600 people ended up attending the event, and added that while other agencies were closed, GSA was able to answer its phones and even direct private citizens to resources within the local government they could call upon.
Reddy said that by being able to offer services regardless of the weather, it inspires confidence in private citizens and boosts their confidence in the government.
“At the end of the day when bad things happen people expect their government to be there,” Reddy said.
If you have any telework stories about the recent weather, good or bad, I would like to hear about them. Feel free to comment below or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org