April 2020 – In response to Hillsborough County’s guidance over COVID-19 public health concerns, Plan Hillsborough pivoted to a completely remote work schedule on March 17 to protect the health and safety of citizens and staff. The agency was able to adapt so quickly thanks to an already established remote work policy, further modified for these unique circumstances. Each staff member is equipped with a remote network connection, computer or laptop, and phone applications that are able to forward calls directly to our cell phones. Our Planning Support Services team was instrumental in providing the programs and technical support needed for our whole agency to remain productive on the go or at home, even prior to current events.
Hillsborough County’s Safer at Home order directs residents to stay at home as much as possible. In adherence to these guidelines, Plan Hillsborough continues to serve the public online through email, phone, social media, planhillsborough.org, and video conference. While some meetings have been postponed, including the April Planning Commission meeting now rescheduled to May 11, the majority continue to be held via video conference. In the past month and a half, we have held online conferences and workshops for the MPO committee meetings, Residential Planned-2 Land Use Study, April Info BBQ (Brown Bag Quarterly), as well as internal Plan Hillsborough staff meetings and trainings. We have tested a few platforms, including GoToMeeting, Microsoft Teams, and GoToWebinar, which have allowed us to collaborate virtually by screen sharing presentations and agendas and turning on our webcams and mics to video chat. We continue to research alternative methods to remain effectively engaged with the community on important matters. Please check the calendar on the website for upcoming teleconferences.
Finally, as we all work together during this challenging and unprecedented time, we are reminded now more than ever that our people come first; our friends, our neighbors, our family, and our work family. Our staff have been sharing their stories of working from home, with many pets and children bringing levity to this unusual circumstance we all find ourselves in. In the background of conference calls, we hear sounds of laughter, children talking, dogs barking, birds chirping, and cats meowing, giving our colleagues a rare glimpse into the homes we retreat to at the end of each workday and the family members (pets included!) that mean the world to us. We are lucky to have the technological capabilities and staff that we do. We continue to work with you and for you, no matter where we are.
If you need assistance or have any questions or concerns during this time, please contact us at 813/272-5940. We are open, virtually!