Ensure that staff have the most up-to-date technology and equipment to continue effectively working on behalf of constituents in the event of a disruption or emergency.
When a crisis occurs, offices need to be prepared to make a seamless transition to remote work. During the initial weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, when most House offices issued mandatory work-from-home directives, some offices lacked the equipment necessary for all staff to successfully work remotely. Ensuring that all offices and staff have the technology necessary for everyone to telework efficiently and effectively improves continuity of government operations.
The Committee recommends that office COOP and technology purchasing plans provide for up-to-date, VPN-capable laptops for all staff in both Washington, D.C. and district offices, as well as equipment and support necessary to forward D.C. and district-office phones. The House should also consider purchasing secure Wi-Fi connections or “hot spots” for increased connectivity during remote work periods, particularly in districts with poor connectivity. Telework technology in district offices should include tools necessary for continued communication with constituents, including phones and scanners.
To ease this process, an Office of Technology Assessment (OTA), the HR HUB, and the Sergeant at Arms’ Emergency Management Division should assist new Members and staff who request help with technology purchases during the orientation process.