Does Teleworking Work for HUD?

The HUD Office of Inspector General (OIG) recently published a report evaluating HUD’s use of agency-wide telework in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. HUD deployed mandatory telework for its employees nationwide as part of an evacuation order on March 20, 2020. Access to all HUD offices was permitted only when required for mission critical functions.

OIG found that telework severely impeded business processes dependent on paper records or facility access. Second, bandwidth constraints with the HUD information technology (IT) infrastructure and the lack of government-furnished equipment for some employees disrupted HUD operations. Third, survey respondents reported HUD was generally well prepared for mandatory telework.

According to the report, HUD demonstrated a capacity to sustain mission-essential operations during a period of mandatory telework, but some processes were severely impacted. The report laid out eight proactive steps for HUD to consider taking:

  • Continue leveraging agency-approved collaboration tools and other technology resources to the greatest extent practicable and appropriate;
  • Ensure employees are properly informed regarding the availability and proper use of any new tools and processes, such as electronic signatures or virtual notary services;
  • Monitor processes that have been, or may become, negatively impacted by full-time telework;
  • Prioritize plans for reopening offices that account for work processes that are canceled or suspended during telework;
  • Further evaluate network connectivity issues affecting employees during telework;
  • Continue to assess the need for government-furnished equipment such as phones, laptops, and peripheral IT devices;
  • Consider steps necessary to address cybersecurity risks related to increased use of employee’s personal computers for government business; and
  • Consider implementing a policy-based routing configuration for VPN traffic to improve network performance and eliminate the need for users to selectively turn off VPN connections.