WHAT FEDERAL AMBIVELANCE ON RETURNING TO WORK MEANS FOR CONTRACTORS
Most federal workers would be happy to continue working remotely, thank you very much, according to a new survey released last week by Federal News Network (FNN). Workers cite factors such as increased productivity and a feeling of security among their reasons. Indeed, some say that they can minimize “disruptions” to their workday when working remotely. Contractors can be forgiven if they feel like the last comment could apply to them sometimes. Actually speaking with a federal employee has been a very hit or miss endeavor since the pandemic. To be clear, many are happy to use virtual platforms to meet, but it’s getting to that point that can be difficult. Not being in the office makes it easier to ignore emails and, unless a contractor has the right cellphone number, office voicemail boxes can easily fill up. So much for customer experience. Potentially worse for contractors is that the FNN survey showed that most federal workers don’t believe that their senior management team took their views into account when establishing part-time office schedules. That could mean workers even less incentivized to the be in the office who could then be less open to speaking with industry. Whether federal employee or contractor, however, the willingness to go into an office and/or meet in person with people really comes down to the job a person holds. Workers on both sides can be very effective with minimal in-person interaction. Others, though, are tired of virtual meeting platforms and are anxious to return to in-person meeting, and even larger gatherings. All of this presents a maze for contractors to navigate as they prepare to enter the fourth quarter of the federal fiscal year. If one potential contact has been unresponsive despite emails and calls to the official office number, it’s time to move to the next one. Conversely, finding that prospect who’d like to meet for coffee and discuss your solution is worth getting out of bed early for and, yes, investing in a tank of inflation-grade gas. Manage your time accordingly.