Arizona Governor Doug Ducey (R) celebrated several years of work to remove unnecessary state office workspace by unveiling a new work building Wednesday for state employees who work remotely.
“Over the past eight years, we’ve been dedicated to transforming our state government,” said Ducey in a news release. “Our goal: fewer employees, higher efficiency, unrivaled customer service, a smaller building footprint and a reduced burden on our hard-working taxpayers. It’s safe to say we’ve accomplished these goals.”
Arizona is shrinking government in a growing economy.
1 million square feet of state office space gone! With 15,000 state employees opting to work remotely, we’ve decreased our physical footprint and saved taxpayers major dollars.
Inside Arizona's Connected Workspace 🔽 pic.twitter.com/JHYq5yZvdr
— Doug Ducey (@DougDucey) September 7, 2022
According to Ducey, a total of 1 million square feet of state office space has been removed under his watch, including 750,000 in the past two years. Moreover, this reduction allegedly saved Arizonan taxpayers over nine million dollars in rental costs since 2020.
The new workspace, Arizona’s Connect Workspace (ACW), rests within an old government building located at 1400 W. Washington St. Despite its outward appearance remaining the same, the inside has been transformed to fit the needs of remote state employees, according to Ducey.
The ACW features video conferencing capabilities, individual work cubicles, conference rooms, collaborative spaces, and a café for employees to use. The Arizona Department of Administration (ADOD) will manage the facility.
“We now have a fresh, modern workspace for all employees to use and we are ready to welcome them,” said ADOD Director Andy Tobin.
Moreover, prior to the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, less than 10 percent of state employees worked remotely. However, many employees stayed out of the office after transmitting to a remote environment, even after the pandemic. As of June 2022, 41 percent of the Arizona state workforce worked remotely.
When asked what impact remote work had on their life, 88 percent of state employees responded favorably, and over 90 percent said their supervisor supported their needs.
Also, because of working remotely, Maricopa County state employees drove 204 million fewer miles between February 2020 and June 2022.
“This brand new modern workspace is fully equipped for the new hybrid work environment,” said Ruben Duran, building and planning manager at the ADOD. “As a fellow hybrid worker, the thing I love most about coming to work in this building is the fact that I get to choose how and where I work each day.”
The Arizona Department of Health shared that the ACW would allow state employees to stay connected and create a fulfilling work life.
#DYK: Social isolation can decrease life satisfaction and increase the risk of suicide?
With Arizona's Connected Workspace, state employees can continue to work together, stay connected, and maintain a happy + fulfilled life. 👏 https://t.co/gereAnmIkm
— AZ Dept of Health (@AZDHS) September 7, 2022
Cronkite News reported that it is not just state employees who did not return to the office since the pandemic began. A survey from the U.S. Census Bureau found that 58.1 percent of Arizonans go to work as opposed to remote, putting Arizona within the top 10 states with the least amount of onsite employees. Arizona also has recently experienced a growth in tech jobs, which allows for more remote work.
– – –