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Federal State joins 'New Way of Working'

A federal government initiative was launched on Tuesday by interior Minister Jan Jambon in Charleroi. Entitled ‘Inter-Federal Satellite Offices’, it is designed to enable civil servants from any of the federal departments to work in offices of other services, or in other cities.

The basic idea is that if a civil servant has a meeting in an office or city other than his/her own, he or she can book a workspace in one of the satellite offices and continue working without having to return back to base first. Jan Jambon said this would be particularly useful for himself…

This system, which is sometimes referred to as the ‘third way’ (not office, not home…) is empowered by a wifi network called Govroam (for Government Roaming). Once an agent has logged in, he or she can log in anywhere else within the system, without having to use a new password.

The new program is the result of an internal competition among federal departments, to find new ideas for efficiency. The winning team was led by Jan Mathu (then of the Mobility department), whose programme was called ‘Out Of Office’. He was on hand to explain the workings of the programme and some of its advantages. These include: avoiding traffic jams, dealing with stress and burn-out and most importantly, helping to make the State an attractive employer. In fact, it appears that it was becoming more difficult for the State to attract the talent it needs.

The system is currently active (or is about to be) in some 15 centres. These are largely spread along the Ostend-Eupen railway line, as some 80% + of State civil servants live within half an hour of the main centres here (Ostend, Bruges, Alost, Leuven,Liège…). If the programme is successful after a six-month period, it will be further rolled out across all government departments and many more buildings.

Two elements to close: there is already an agreement with the Netherlands making it possible for civil servants from the two countries to operate in each other’s centres. Secondly, there has been no investment whatsoever either in buildings or in new wifi programmes – the entire system uses available (if modified) resources.

Jan Jambon listens to project designer Jan Mathu
Jan Jambon listens to project designer Jan Mathu

| 02/05/2017

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