Promotion of multi-location working
The digitalisation of work offers many opportunities for organising central government services, administration and other tasks in a new way. When customers, information and employees are brought together online, the work can be done in a different way without being tied to time or place.
A development project was set up in early 2020 to promote, plan and implement this transformation in the way the work is done. This was based on an entry in the Government Programme stating that Government tasks should be organised in a way that allows a multi-location approach and full use of the opportunities provided by smart technology to work in a way that is independent of place. Shortly after the start of the project, the situation changed dramatically when, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, central government organisations switched over to remote working as extensively as the tasks in question would permit.
Before the virus pandemic, remote working had already been fairly widely adopted in central government, and agencies operating nationwide applied a multi-location approach in their work. However, the remote working necessitated by the virus was considerably broader. During the pandemic, many tasks that were previously not thought to be suitable for remote work have been successfully performed remotely. Work processes and procedures have been digitalised, new systems introduced and staff skills in online work have risen to a completely new level.
The next step is to take a much larger leap in development in the promotion of multi-location working. When the enforced remote working caused by the pandemic comes to an end, there will be no return to the previous system, but instead online working, digitalised processes and personnel skills will be further refined to become a new way of working in central government.
About half of the tasks in central government can be performed on a multi-location basis, either in premises designated by the employer or as home-based remote working. To make good use of this opportunity, it is necessary to set out guidelines on the common objectives, methods and limitations applying to multi-location work in central government. Multi-location working offers a range of different opportunities to improve services and work more productively; for employees it can bring a new kind of flexibility for reconciling work with other areas of life.
In spring 2021 the project produced the guidelines and various measures for helping central government organisations successfully apply the concept of multi-location working. The guidelines are being drafted in parallel with the preparation of a new premises strategy being prepared for central government. The work on these projects has involved close cooperation. Multi-location working will also be a key tool in the renewal of central government's regional presence and service point network.
Heikki Korhonen, heikki.korhonen(at)gov.fi