Governor Holcomb wants state employees in offices by July

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana’s governor is directing all state employees to return to their offices by early July.

Gov. Eric Holcomb told state workers that the transition from a March 2020 stay-at-home order starts with senior staff who must return by June 7. Other employees should spend at least 50% of their time at the office by June 21 and return full-time by July 6.

Staffers for many state agencies have been working remotely, but Holcomb said in a Wednesday email to employees that “it is not the optimal way for us to serve Hoosiers.”

“We work better together, and build more solid and collaborative teams, when we can have regular face-to-face conversations,” Holcomb said. “Returning to the office means the impromptu discussions that so often lead to innovation will be happening again with more frequency and energy.”

The state will offer a vaccination clinic at the Indiana Government Center in Indianapolis on June 21-22. About 2.4 million Indiana residents were considered to be fully vaccinated by Wednesday, although the state’s vaccination rate is the 14th lowest in the country at about 35% of total population, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

The following letter went out to state employees:

Dear Colleague, 

On March 23, 2020, I issued a stay-at-home order that closed in-person public activity at state offices because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of you quickly made significant changes to continue state operations away from your normal work locations. Slowly, BMV offices reopened and other employees began to return to their worksites. Many at the Department of Correction, the Indiana State Police, the state Department of Health, the Indiana National Guard, DCS, INDOT, and others have been on the front lines throughout the pandemic.

It is time for all of us to return to our on-site work locations, and state employees will do so no later than July 6.

Much progress has been made in the fight against COVID-19 in recent weeks and months. We have three vaccines that are safe and effective and nearly 2.5 million Hoosiers have been vaccinated. New CDC guidance provides that fully vaccinated people can resume regular activities without wearing face coverings and social distancing. More people are going to restaurants, racetracks, graduations and other events, and more businesses are beginning to bring their employees back to offices.

Our work has incredible impact for Hoosiers and I celebrate, with you, what we have accomplished with remote work tools, but it is not the optimal way for us to serve Hoosiers. We work better together, and build more solid and collaborative teams, when we can have regular face-to-face conversations. Returning to the office means the impromptu discussions that so often lead to innovation will be happening again with more frequency and energy. And with the recently passed budget, we have more opportunities than ever to serve Hoosiers and move Indiana forward.

Here is how we will return:

Beginning Tuesday, June 7, all agency heads, senior staff and supervisors should be in their pre-pandemic work locations full time

No later than Monday, June 21, all non-supervisory employees should report to their pre-pandemic work locations at least 50 percent of their work week

No later than Tuesday, July 6, all employees should report to their pre-pandemic locations full time

Employees who had alternate work arrangements before March 2020 may resume or continue those arrangements.

I encourage state employees who have not been vaccinated for COVID-19 to do so before returning to the workplace, so you protect yourself, your families, friends and co-workers. We will offer a vaccination clinic on the Indianapolis campus on June 21 and 22, and there are some 800 locations across the state to obtain a free vaccination.

Your agency leaders have been informed of this plan, and updated guidance will be provided early in June. As we have done throughout the pandemic, we will monitor and adjust plans if needed.

I am grateful for all you have accomplished to keep our state not only on track but flourishing. We should all be proud of how we have helped Hoosiers through this unprecedented time.

Sincerely,

Eric Holcomb

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