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Post-pandemic: Will some state employees still work from home?

The COVID-19 pandemic has meant a good number of state employees have been working from home.

"I think a lot of people have learned, including state employees, they can be very productive working from home, if they have  the right environment and the right equipment," Gov. Doug Burgum said at his Wednesday briefing.

Burgum said the Legislature's Budget Section approved the use of special COVID-19 federal money to upgrade some equipment for state employees to work from home. He said once the pandemic passes, this could be the "new normal" for some workers.

"When you 'come back to work,' and re-open the Capitol, it may be a hybrid," Burgum said. "It may be there are certain managers and leaders that will come back and work every single day out of the Capitol, and there may be other classes of workers that will come in two days a week, and in the days they're not there, someone else comes in."

Burgum said the state owns and leases a lot of property across North Dakota, and a real estate study is now underway concerning that property.

"There will be new thinking and new approaches on the best way to work," Burgum said. "Not only from a health standpoint, but from a productivity standpoint."

Burgum said he also thinks there will be new thinking from a "customer service" standpoint.

"We talk a lot about wanting to treat the taxpayers and citizens as customers," Burgum said. "They are. And if we can create a situation where a citizen can get a service without having to come to the Capitol, that's a good deal."

Burgum said there are 7,100 state employees who have remained on the job, many working remotely.

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