GSA: Distributed work makes government teams happier, more productive and inclusive

The U.S. General Services Administration’s 18F has a great post on why distributed government is critical to highly-functioning public service teams, emphasizing a ‘distributed first’ approach to work.

The post touches on key issues that make work cultures great and how distributed operations facilitate these, including issues related to:

  • Inclusivity
  • Accessibility
  • Trust and patience
  • Staying present
  • Making space for everyone
  • Communicating
  • Respecting time


At the General Services Administration’s 18F, we’ve seen that remote work can make teams happier, more productive, and more inclusive. Organizing ourselves in a remote-first way has improved our morale and allowed us to recruit and retain talent from all across the country. But building great distributed teams takes real work. 

18F has been a distributed-first organization—that means designed for remote work, not just able to accommodate it—for all of its six years, and we pride ourselves on modelling effective remote teams. We were talking about distributed team best practices in 2015, and we’ve learned a lot more since then about how we make a distributed-first culture work.

We spend a lot of time thinking about how we collaborate with one another and with our partners. What we find is that building effective distributed teams is very much a matter of cultural values. 

Building distributed teams

About Luke Fretwell

Luke Fretwell is the founder of GovFresh, co-founder/CEO of ProudCity and co-host of the podcast, The Government We Need. Connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn or email at


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