It has been a year since the COVID-19 pandemic forced many Oklahomans to work from home. Several state agencies have worked to turn that major disruption into a positive.
A year ago, Governor Kevin Stitt signed an executive order, telling tens of thousands of state employees to prepare to leave their state offices and work from home.
“You kind of bob and weave with what comes your way, but I think everyone has been incredibly flexible,” Bonnie Campo with the Office of Management and Enterprise Services said.
During the height of the pandemic, an August OMES survey found 18 state agencies were 100% online while 41 agencies had more than 75% of their workforce online.
“Overwhelmingly, we've heard that they enjoy that,” Campo said. “They're more productive and they really see that as a permanent solution to the everyday work life.”
In all nearly 30,000 state employees were sent home. That has meant saving money for the state. For OMES alone, the savings on rent have been more than $630,000.
Campo said the agency can fit nearly the entire agency under one roof for the first time ever.
“What we've been able to do is measure productivity and we also have those daily check-in's asking, ‘how are you doing,’ because that's important to us but we are also asking do they like working from home, are they more productive from home and we're finding yes is the answer,” Campo said.
As for if the work from home set up is here to stay, Campo said only time will tell.