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The future of work and the path forward

By Nina Albert, PBS Commissioner
April 6, 2023

As federal agencies plan their future-of-work strategies, there is broad consensus that the office continues to have important purposes, such as the ability to socially connect with colleagues, ability to engage with customers, access to secure resources, and ability to focus for those who can’t (or don’t want to) work from home.

Hybrid work in all its forms are being explored as employers and employees seek the approach that is best for delivering their missions, serving their customers, and empowering their employees.

Hybrid work is not a new concept, as employees from many federal agencies and private companies worked in part from home, in part in the office, and/or from the road prior to the pandemic. But the widespread experience with telework over the past three years, together with significant advances in conferencing technology and digital access, provide an opportunity to shape the future of the federal workplace in ways that empower the federal workforce and maximize value for taxpayers.

At GSA, we’re working to help our partners gain a clearer understanding of when and where people need to work to perform at their best and remain focused on mission delivery.

Defining the future of work starts with understanding how an agency’s employees can deliver most effectively. As one agency customer told us, “I’m not a space planner, engineer, or psychologist. If you show me, I can tell you what I like or what I think would work.” If professionals “know it when they see it,” then having the opportunity to see it work in action is advantageous.

That’s why GSA made a space specifically for agency leaders and teams to experience new technologies, furnishings and hybrid work strategies for themselves. Our Workplace Innovation Lab is open at GSA’s headquarters in Washington, and employees can reserve space to kick the tires on these innovative spaces. Another way agencies can learn what space and resources best support their work is to partner with GSA to conduct a workplace engagement to study their unique needs.

GSA is working hard to support federal agencies in their Future of Work decisions, by offering tools, research and expertise. Several agencies joined GSA in visioning sessions for the future of work and have been helping co-create our new workplace offerings. Our workplace website captures best practices and information about the new GSA resources that support workplace planning, change management, and real estate optimization.

We look forward to continuing these partnerships and to helping agencies plan and deliver smart, flexible spaces to support the federal workforce today and into the future.

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