Work from home: State of Alaska makes plans for coronavirus

Published: Mar. 10, 2020 at 8:56 PM AKDT
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State agencies are being urged to make plans quickly to have employees work from home, if necessary, in the event that coronavirus shows up in Alaska.

Kelly Tshibaka, commissioner of the Department of Administration, sent an email Tuesday to state agencies outlining steps to plan ahead to have employees work remotely, if needed.

"We strongly encourage telework, if your position allows", Tshibaka wrote in the memo, which also stated:

-Supervisors are strongly encouraged to develop situational telework agreements/expectations with all telework eligible employees, currently without a signed telecommute work agreement, who need to work remotely for a prolonged period due to COVID-19.

-DOA is deploying software this week to all Departments (except Governor's Office staff) that will allows employees to videoconference from video-enabled computers. Staff members are being encouraged to use videoconferencing for meetings whenever possible, even in the workplace.

-DOA is offering supervisors training this week on how to manage telework employees.

-DOA is asking for information from each department on which employees need computers, phones, or Virtual Private Networks for telecommuting or internet connectivity. Starting with those employees identified as essential for continuity of operations during an emergency, the state will begin deploying equipment as expeditiously as possible.

"The safety of our employees is our top priority" Tshibaka wrote in the email, adding "DOA has been working with the Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) and other agencies since the outbreak began, and it continues to coordinate closely with state leaders and partners. The state’s emergency planning has us well placed to respond to threats such as this, as well as provide information and prevention tips while also working to prevent undue stress or panic."

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