The House should prioritize the approval of platforms that staff need for effective telework, and each individual staff member should have licensed access to the approved technology.
Due to a lack of guidance and preparation, many offices were unprepared to use remote communication technologies and software when the COVID-19 pandemic required extended work from home. As a result, some offices relied upon software and programs that were not officially approved by the House. Additionally, staff had difficulty accessing programs because of shared license agreements. Providing offices with approved software for video conferencing and remote communications, as well as providing licenses for that software to individual staff, would enable a smoother transition to telework.
The Committee recommends that HIR and OTA prioritize software licenses and updates reflective of congressional needs. Building off of recommendations to streamline congressional purchases to save taxpayer dollars, the House should also consider bulk purchases of software licenses. HIR and OTA should also evaluate hardware updates to facilitate software improvements; this could take the form of an “approved hardware catalogue” that advises offices on which machines to buy.