Shortly before COVID-19 turned the world upside down and changed the way many do business, the Institute for Public Service partnered with Baskin Strategies to study workforce flexibility across the institute.
IPS initiated the study following employee engagement feedback asking for remote work arrangements to eliminate long commutes and avoid costly and limited parking in Nashville. Baskin Strategies, a Nashville-based workspace strategies consulting firm, began its Employee Flexibility Analysis in late March 2020 by looking at all IPS office space and interviewing employees across the state. Baskin identified employee job functions, work patterns and types of workspaces necessary and analyzed square footage of IPS’s current office spaces. Baskin conducted a square footage study to determine how much workspace will actually be necessary once employees start to work remotely, giving IPS the chance to reduce costs.
“We had employees working remotely during the spring, but undertaking and continuing this study allows us to implement a permanent work from home arrangement for our employees,” said IPS Vice President Herb Byrd. “This arrangement is something our employees requested, and we have the technology to allow them to succeed remotely and continue our mission to serve business and government and improve the lives of Tennesseans.”
Baskin Strategies recommended that certain jobs be in the office five days a week; some positions would be hybrid between in the office three days a week and working from home two days a week; others, such as field consultants, are primarily mobile with touch down spaces in IPS offices across the state; and others can work from home up to three days a week.
IPS rolled out a pilot alternative work arrangement to its Nashville-based employees in February 2021. After the pilot is complete and all of the arrangements analyzed by agency directors and supervisors, the plan will launch to include all IPS employees adopting the alternative work arrangement.
“Every organization is different and there is never a ‘one-size fits all’ solution. By selecting a group of IPS employees to participate in a pilot, we are able to gain insight into IPS’ overall readiness for implementation and gain feedback directly from employees,” said Reen Baskin, principal and founder of Baskin Strategies. “We incorporate the pilot findings into our methods and practices that will be used for the successful IPS agency-wide launch of AWA.”