Phase 1 Future of Work plans submitted for review

King County departments have submitted the first phase of their “Future of Work” plans as part of efforts to look ahead to the needs of operations, employees, and customers once the risk of the COVID-19 pandemic has ended.

The plans draw on the experiences and lessons learned from the last year operating amid COVID-19 and incorporate input from employees using a variety of mechanisms, including surveys, all-hands meetings, and focused breakout discussions, with a particular emphasis on equity and employee health and safety.

Chinook Building

The Future of Work plans are being developed in two phases by departments that report to the Executive and consider impacts to eight key areas:

Phase I (submitted February 26)

  • Equity 
  • Employee health, safety, wellbeing, engagement, and labor relations  
  • Customer service, business needs, and operational needs 
  • Change management and communication plans 
  • Worksite changes

Phase II (due March 26)

  • Budget planning and cost avoidance
  • Climate change, sustainability, and efficiency 
  • Legal advice and regulatory compliance.

Some of the issues being considered by departments are how remote and on-site work affects equity for employees and customers, potential impacts to carbon emissions, and the maintenance of employee health, safety, and wellbeing.

“COVID-19 forced many changes on the way we work but it has also given us the opportunity to rethink the way we work,” Chief People Officer Whitney Abrams said. “We want to take this opportunity to look at how we deliver services, the way we work, and what we can do differently to better serve our region, our employees, and the environment.”

Approximately two-thirds of King County’s 15,000 employees are currently required to work on-site, delivering essential in-person services to residents. Many other public facing services have shifted online, and various buildings are closed to the public and most employees. In addition, the Administration Building will close some time in 2021, with staff in that building relocating to Chinook, KSC, and other County-owned or -leased facilities.

Departments are meeting with the Guidance Team to learn from other departments’ strengths and improve their plans. Final plans will be submitted to the Future of Work Planning Committee for review and final plans will need to be approved by King County Executive Dow Constantine and his Senior Leadership Team.