August 17, 2020

How Municipalities are Using Online Services in Response to COVID-19

Posted by Karl Pawlewicz

In our most recent webinar, dedicated to online services created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we covered a number of forms that have been created by our partners.

GovOS Studio Usage Data

These forms have been a part of a big uptick in usage on the platform. We’ve been really moved to see the leadership and increased activity at the local level, as the public sector responds to this crisis.

Amongst GovOS users, we’ve seen:

  • A 30% increase in the number of logins
  • Nearly 1000 COVID-19 related forms created in approximately 2 months
  • And just over 100,000 form submissions from March to April

‍From all of us here at GovOS, thank you for your hard work. We truly believe Government is Beautiful, and in these trying times our local government partners are doing their best to make life a little easier for citizens and staff.

SeamlessDocs - Government is Beautiful

Online Services Launched in Response to COVID-19

If we take a closer look at some top forms created by local governments, we see some that have been key to handling the early stages of the pandemic:

  1. Alachua County, Florida – Request for Essential Business Designation (https://topforms.seamlessdocs.com/f/XwUin5)
  2. Kauai County, Hawaii – Uniform and Equipment Evaluation (https://topforms.seamlessdocs.com/f/9Zz2M8)
  3. Tucson, AZ – Resource Requests (https://topforms.seamlessdocs.com/f/OSLcwi)
  4. Sacramento, CA – Time Tracking Sheet (https://topforms.seamlessdocs.com/f/lZQzmn)
  5. Catawba, NC – Crime Tip Form (https://topforms.seamlessdocs.com/f/j48iA)
  6. Royal Oak, MI – Artwork and Letters for Senior Residents in the Community (https://topforms.seamlessdocs.com/f/jeRSYX)
  7. Lynchburg, VA – Telework Applications (https://topforms.seamlessdocs.com/f/PRBB7G)
  8. FEMA Reimbursement Request (https://topforms.seamlessdocs.com/f/ChdCeL)

Alachua County, Florida

Request for Essential Business Designation

This request is so important because anyone who owns a business  is concerned  about how they will  be affected during these difficult times. I’m sure that when they first hear a proclamation around essential businesses they want to know if that means them and it’s not always so cut and dry. A quick response can mean the difference between having their door closed for a day or weeks.

Alachua created this online form by uploading a PDF, using the auto-detect feature within GovOS Studio to identify fields, and then making certain fields required to ensure they capture necessary information. In three easy steps they were able to convert a PDF into an online form. 

[Read More: uploading PDFs in GovOS Studio]

Kauai County, Hawaii

Uniform and Equipment Evaluation 

Kauai’s Uniform and Equipment Evaluation form is a simple web form that makes it easy to request equipment if your team is now in a work from home situation. The requests can be evaluated periodically to ensure safety and the usefulness of the equipment. Collecting this data online makes it so easy for your internal team to get a high level view of what needs work and what is good to go. 

In this form, Kauai was able to easily add in the necessary fields using features such as the Rich Text option to include their government’s logo, single and multiple line inputs, a few checkboxes and radio buttons and finally a signature field to end their form.

[Read More: creating rich text in Studio and Adding Checkboxes and Radio Buttons on a web form.]

Tucson, AZ

Resource Requests

Resource requests are some of the most important forms we’ve seen during the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s not always easy to know who or where to go for resourcing requests when everyone is in the office, and now that many agencies are in a telework situation, it’s even trickier. With this form, the agency is able to collect that information easily in one place and can speed up response times significantly.

This is a stylized PDF that was quickly and easily converted by dragging and dropping it into the Studio dashboard. Each section is assigned to a particular signer and goes in a workflow, then the final completed form can be emailed to a group. 

[Read More: assigning a particular signer to an online form.]

Sacramento, CA

Time Tracking Sheet

If your agency relied on a timecard punch or a paper form to collect employees hours, that hasn’t been possible now that staff has been ordered to work from home. Creating online forms to track hours online is making it easier for agencies to empower remote workers and ensure information is correct so that your staff can get paid on time and the correct amount. 

This is another example of an easy to make WebForm. We also offer more advanced features that you can use on time cards such as using the Calculations option so that you can collect the data and easily export it into another program via the Submissions Manager or send it to other platforms via API integration.

[Read MoreSubmission Manager and SeamlessCentral]

Catawba, NC

Crime Tip Form

Our first responders need all the help that they can get in these difficult times and any ways that we can make their job easier is so important. Making it easy to collect crime tips will mean reduced in person visits and a quicker response time to help keep citizens safe. 

In this case Catawba has created a multi page web form, using our section break element, to collect as much or as little information. You can even choose to add a signature to follow up with the person around the tip or make it anonymous by excluding the signature option.

[Read More: add a cover letter to a web form and create a section break element.]

Royal Oak, MI

Artwork and Letters for Senior Residents in the Community 

Now more than ever it’s important to enable governments to provide services to citizens that may not initially be seen as essential but can help promote community and a positive response. Our partners at the City of Irvine had to cancel all in-person events sponsored by the government due to social distancing concerns, but still wanted to hold their annual 5K race. So they switched to a virtual 5K event as a way to have everyone participate at a safe distance and used an online form to enable registration.

This form is a super simple WebForm and it showcases how you can add beautiful images to the top of any form to make it feel more inviting and inspiring. 

Judy Davids, Community Engagement Specialist for Royal Oak says, “The senior residents love the art and photos they receive! People upload photos, art etc. and all we do is download them and email them to two local assisted living facilities. They print them! We never touch the works so they don’t need to worry. It is sort of a very sweet way to connect our community. We’ve seen 75 submissions since we launched the form on March 19. That’s an average of 2 submissions per day.”

And kudos to our partners in Manchester, CT and Glen Ellyn, IL who have created similar forms for the community.

Lynchburg, VA

Telework Applications 

One of the biggest trends we saw in the early weeks of COVID-19 pandemic was that many organizations around the country had not prepared for telecommuting and working from home. Many government agencies had to move very quickly to adapt new systems that would ensure the safety of their employees and citizens, while maintaining the efficiency and efficacy of their agency.

Lynchburg was able to get this form up and running in no time and using our Template feature they were able to save a copy and create a dozen different versions for the various departments and groups. Hundreds took advantage in just a few days and the administration was able to be informed of their staff’s resources instead of being left in the dark in a tough time.

Luann Hunt, Communications & Marketing Coordinator for Lynchburg, VA, said, “The ‘Working from Home – COL Employee Survey’ was the first form their team created. It helped the city’s Strategic Management Team for COVID-19 get the big picture view of who could work from home, if the need arose. We created this  work from home survey template and duplicated that form for every department. The survey had over 400 responses in about 24 hours, from which we learned that about 80% of respondents could work from home.”

[Read more: about GovOS Template Feature.]

FEMA Reimbursement Request

Local governments can use this form to submit expenses due to COVID-19

In addition to the unique forms your government has created and been using for some time there are also many federal or state forms that are important in a time like this and they need to be easily fillable. Using the auto-detect it was easy to take this complex and lengthy form and bring it online in a simple way. We’ve made it simple and made templates of many common Federal Forms like this FEMA 214 activity log and after this webinar you’ll be able to request to have this copied into your account. 

As we all know, Federal PDFs must maintain its formatting, so converting one into an online form to make it fillable is crucial for your staff and citizens to be able to submit these forms and have them route accordingly.

[Read More: How to create an online form using a PDF.]