By JLL Technologies

State and local governments can transform the workplace with stimulus funds

Public institutions can achieve their hybrid workplace goals using emergency funding made available during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the recent webinar “Technology plus hybrid: tips for shaping government workplaces.” JLL CIO, Digital, Edward Wagoner acted as moderator and posed questions for two real estate experts about helping local and state governments to prepare their workplaces for the future:

Bob Hunt, managing director of public institutions, JLL, explored the history of the public sector’s recent shift toward adopting remote and hybrid solutions.

Liz Van Dyke, managing director, public sector, JLL, illustrated how the latest hybrid workplace and internet of things technology offers value that extends far beyond the return-to-office.

According to the panelists, this is a unique opportunity to leverage emergency funds to enable hybrid workplace improvements in state and local public offices.

“The public sector can take advantage of some significant opportunities to transform their workplaces,” explained Wagoner.

COVID-19 drives the public sector to embrace remote and hybrid work

Social distancing and remote work have reshaped the workplace all over the world. Hunt emphasized how unprecedented events have led even the most digitally ambivalent decision-makers in the public sector to rethink their relationship with technology:

“2020 changed the fabric of work worldwide overnight—more so than anything since the telephone,” he said.

“The upside? It showed government agencies that remote work can be effective and perhaps even increase productivity in their workforce. That resistance is melting away,” said Hunt.

He also cited a recent survey performed by the National Association of State Chief Administrators that showed 85% of state leadership bodies have expressed interest in adopting a hybrid work model—or are already implementing one.

Hunt noted that the situation is complicated, but it’s one that decision-makers need to reconcile with: “Work will never get back to the way it was before.”

That resistance is melting away.

Bob Hunt, managing director of public institutions at JLL

Experts recommend thinking big with existing workplace data

Real estate and facilities management professionals working in the public sector are already pondering strategic next steps for modernizing their workplaces. One panelist encouraged teams to maximize the value of data solutions they already have access to.

“The pandemic has given us an opportunity to rethink how we provide our employees with their ideal workplace experience,” said Van Dyke. “One way I’ve seen public institutions do this is by adopting tools for integrating existing data into a single solution—reservations, work order requests, even public transportation schedules.”

Available stimulus funds can enable workplace improvements

Public institutions face constraints that inhibit investing in improvements outside of plans agreed upon during annual budgetary meetings. However, Van Dyke discussed how state and local governments can put untapped stimulus funds directly toward future-proofing their workplaces.

“The money is already out there,” said Van Dyke. “This is really the time to figure out how to prepare for the next 10 or 20 years of operations.”

She also described her team’s recent success building cases for government offices to take advantage of stimulus funding. Her team helped clients use these resources to implement a space management system and prepare public institutions for the task of building a successful hybrid workplace.

Now is the time to press forward

Pandemic recovery funds represent a rare opportunity for public institutions. Take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime chance to boost efficiency, attract and retain top talent, and future-proof your workplace.
Talk to an expert today.