Gov. Baker: Thousands of state employees will work from home after pandemic ends

BOSTON — As many as 20,000 Massachusetts state employees will continue to work from home after the pandemic is over, the Baker Administration said Thursday.

Gov. Charlies Baker announced plans to implement a permanent hybrid work model that will allow employees to visit the office only a few times a week.

“I just think a lot of people have learned that they can be enormously productive without spending five days a week in the office,” Baker said.

Baker recently emailed state workers about the new “Future of Work Initiative,” which will keep workers at home throughout 2021 and beyond. The email said the state will update its telework policy, implement a new workplace reservation system, and develop and coordinate additional training opportunities.

“Your ability to adjust over the last year accelerated important technology improvements and changed many long-standing work practices - and pre-conceived notions about work practices - through a spirit of innovation that is here to stay,” Baker’s email said.

“I’ll be honest, it makes sense,” State Senator Adam Hinds said.

Hinds, a Democrat from western Massachusetts, chairs the new Committee on Reimagining Massachusetts Post-Pandemic Resiliency, which is tasked with studying the economic fallout from the pandemic.

For instance, Hinds said if more people are working from home, they’ll need better Internet connection, but they’ll also be using public transportation a lot less.

“If we have fewer people traveling to our work places then what does that mean for our commercial buildings and do we have to rethink how we make use of those?” Hinds said.

Hinds said larger cities might suffer with the hybrid work model, but the suburbs could see more investment and growth.

“Honestly, the impact is going to be different depending on which city you’re in,” Hinds said.

Baker said the transition to remote working—in both the public and private sectors—will change the way funds are allocated throughout Massachusetts.

“I don’t want to make decisions on how we invest state or federal money, how we work with the private sector or our local governments, to build our way back out of all this without recognizing and understanding that some things are going to change,” Baker said.

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