LANSING, Mich. (MIRS News) – Most state government workers are still working a combined in-person/remote work schedule post-COVID-19, according to work-from-home rules obtained by MIRS.
With some exceptions, state departments are following Office of State Employer guidelines released July 15, 2021. A Department of Technology, Management and Budget spokesperson confirmed they are still in place and may be viewed online.
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“Agencies have sole discretion to identify positions suitable for remote work and authorize request to work remotely,” the OSE guidelines state. “Approval depends on operational needs, including the suitability of duties, skills and abilities of employees and supervisors and availability of necessary equipment.”
DTMB spokesperson Caleb Buhs said about 58% of employees in the department have hybrid work authorization.
The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development also had about 50% of the workforce on a hybrid schedule.
“MDARD employees include inspectors, sanitarians, entomologists, veterinarians and more, whose work is conducted across Michigan rather than office-based,” MDARD spokesperson Chelsea Lewis said.
Michigan Department of Civil Rights spokesperson Harold CORE said all 93 employees are on a hybrid schedule. The Department of Education spokesperson Martin Ackley also said their employees are on a hybrid schedule with the option to work one or two days in-person.
Civil Rights and Education are the two departments with no employees that are fully in-person.
Michigan Department of State spokesperson Angela Benander said almost all 1,400 employees are working completely in-person because they deal with customers at the Secretary of State branches throughout the state.
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There are no government departments that have completely returned to in-person work, but there are several departments that had employees that didn’t stop working in-person even during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Michigan State Police had troopers who were reporting to work in-person.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources also had many conservation officers and other employees who reported working in-person during the COVID-19 pandemic.
DNR spokesperson Ed Golder said there were many other employees still working remotely for the department, but that didn’t mean they didn’t have an eye on productivity.
“We review each remote work agreement annually to make sure the needs of the public and the organizational needs of the department are continuing to be met. Where those needs are not being met, remote work agreements are not extended,” Golder said.
The Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) has nearly all employees working from home, while the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs has nearly all employees working in-person.
“Our remote work policy aims to maximize efficiency while providing the best possible customer service to members of the public,” DMVA spokesperson Michael KROLL said.
The rest of the state departments, as well as the Michigan State Housing Development Authority and Michigan Economic Development Corporation, had a variety of hybrid and in-person employees depending on the job description.
“While the pandemic increased the number of employees that currently work in that hybrid model, MEDC has historically had field-based employees working remotely throughout the state to provide proximal service and to our customers in every corner of the state,” MEDC spokesperson Otie McKinley said.
Many of those jobs followed information consistent with what was happening throughout the business world in Michigan.
W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research data indicated nearly 743,000, or 16.1%, workers in Michigan are fully remote.
The largest private sector with the most remote workers in 2021 is manufacturing, with nearly 137,000. Professional, scientific, and technical services have nearly 120,000 remote workers. Financial and insurance services have more than 85,000. Education services had more than 71,000, and the health care and social services industry had nearly 71,000 working from home.
There were many occupations that had a work-from-home rate between 30% and 50%, with computer and mathematics workers at the top of the list; followed by business and financial operations; then artists, designers, entertainers and media personnel; and lastly architectural and engineering employees.
Legal, management, community and social services, scientists in the life, physical and social areas, and office or administrative support staff saw a work-from-home rate of more than 20%.
Many people across the U.S. moved to smaller cities, as the work-from-home trend of the COVID-19 pandemic seems to be here to stay.
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