DGS dashboard measures telework use and impacts
- From tools to impact: How DGS’ transition to telework saved millions of miles
- How DGS automated telework tracking and measuring impact
- DGS’ telework journey: rapid tools lead to big results
- DGS and telework: turning mandate into mission critical
DGS needed to move as many staff to full-time telework as quickly as possible to help keep staff safe and help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Fortunately, DGS’s existing departmental telework policy set a framework for determining which employees were eligible for telework based on their job duties.
However, DGS also needed a way to keep track of staff teleworking, what equipment staff took home, and how to reach them by phone. DGS also needed to assure that staff understood their obligations while teleworking, particularly with respect to securing their remote environment if they were using their own equipment. Given the scale, manual tracking was too cumbersome. So DGS needed to quickly develop a solution to effectively monitor employees’ telework status and frequency and support the staff transition to telework.
What DGS Did
Rapid workflow implementation via ServiceNow
DGS already had experience developing workflows and applications with ServiceNow, a software tool that supports operational management. While the ServiceNow platform is optimized for IT Service Management, the DGS team has found many other uses including creating business driven workflow and applications. Development on ServiceNow can be done quickly, leveraging reusable modules and rapid application development techniques. The DGS team determined it was an effective choice for creating a simple workflow to track staff and their schedules.
Leveraging ServiceNow, DGS created and deployed an electronic workflow to allow staff to “request” telework via a service request catalog item in its existing Service Portal. Messaging went out to all DGS employees providing direction on how to use the new catalog item to request telework. The request allowed employees to identify their telework schedule (days and start/end times), provide their remote contact information, and electronically accept the department’s telework agreement. Once submitted, the request was electronically routed to the employee’s supervisor for approval.
Additionally, to track equipment, DGS created and deployed a ‘Take Equipment Home’ catalog item in ServiceNow, which allowed employees to request, and supervisors to approve, taking their assigned IT and ergonomic equipment (desktops/laptops, monitors, etc.) to use at home.
The workflows were built within 5 days (12 to 16 hours per day). As a result, DGS was able to swiftly approve more than 1,700 individual telework requests coupled with comprehensive tracking.
The results and impact
The results of DGS’ migration to telework were impressive. On the aggregate (by the week of August 17, 2020), DGS learned that for teleworking staff, their average one-way commute is 15.4 miles taking 27.3 minutes. Of DGS’ 1,979 telework eligible employees, 73 percent are now teleworking (21 percent part-time, 61 percent fulltime). That translates into teleworkers saving 222,000 commute miles and 6,500 hours during the week equating to approximately $30,000 in gas costs, and avoidance of about 80 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions.
The cumulative statistics are even more striking. Since transitioning into fulltime telework in March of 2020, DGS teleworkers have saved approximately 16.4 years of commute time. The total commute miles avoided is enough to travel around the Earth almost 200 times or make more than 10 roundtrips to the moon (through the week of August 17, 2020). DGS estimates saving almost 200,000 gallons of gasoline, equating to approximately $620,000 in gas dollars saved by our employees. In total, staff have avoided more than 1,761 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions. DGS’ ability to measure the impact of their telework actions on the environment provides the state with valuable information on how telework can support environmental policy and climate change goals.
Most importantly, DGS is hearing the benefits of telework from its employees. Employees welcome getting back precious time in their days and saving money (not only on gas, but on wear and tear on their vehicles). In a recent survey of DGS teleworkers, nearly 80 percent of all respondents indicated they wanted to continue teleworking permanently.
After the May release, DGS worked with the Government Operations Agency team to continuously improve the dashboard. The team iterated on a summary dashboard that provides valuable information for not just DGS, but other state agencies, the administration, and the public. DGS has now documented the complete process of building the dashboard and is creating templates for other departments to use to recreate the dashboard metrics. The long-term goal is to create a statewide dashboard that tracks telework data from all state departments.