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Civil Service - Post Lockdown - Blended Working?



  • Registered Users Posts: 28,969 ✭✭✭✭AndrewJRenko

    Duration? Who knows, really. People were telling me here two years ago that it was just going to be for a couple of months. You'd be foolish to make plans for the future based on this virus. So what is 'just for the duration of the pandemic' going to be?

    There's no-one in the office to mingle with. There's a lovely, wide, open plan space for about 40 people sitting mostly empty, one other person once a week, lighted and heated, manned for security and cleaning. And I can't use it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,049 ✭✭✭gazzer

    Well I for one certainly don't want a 5 day week back in the office. I am saving a good bit of money (approx 50 euro a week) from no commuting costs and eating lunches I make from home.

    My bedroom is free during the day as I am not in bed so I have no problem using the room as an office. A laptop doesn't take up much room 😁.

    Of course my electricity bill is higher but with the savings I make I am still up around 30 euro a week.

    On top of that I have much more free time. I was spending the guts of 2.5 hours getting to and from work each day.

    I realise some people might cycle to work or live very near to their office but I'd be fairly confident that the majority of people drive or use public transport to get to the office.

    Using my section as an example from 25 people only one lives walking distance to the office. One other cycles. The rest drive and commute.

    If I really need to be in the office for a particular day I just have to let the accommodation unit know the day before.

    When blended working does eventually come in I hope to still be able to wfh 3 days a week

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    Initial discussions with management for my role suggests I can expect a good shot at 1 day in office, 2 at most

    Its going to be heavily contingent on dept and role, and its still just too soon to be stirred up about it either way imo

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,049 ✭✭✭gazzer

    The one thing that needs to be clarified when blended working comes in is how will flexi leave work. Can you only work up time when you are physically in the office?

    It doesn't really affect me as I tended not to work up much time but since wfh I'm definitely doing approx an hour a day more due to timings of Zoom meetings etc as I tend to start work around 8.15 and finish around 5.30. There are a lot of people who pre Covid would have worked up flexi leave each month.

    The unions have been extremely quiet about flexi for some strange reason

  • Registered Users Posts: 16,531 ✭✭✭✭yabadabado

    Would you not speak to your manager and ask that meetings are scheduled for core time .

    I don't know why anyone would be giving an extra hour a day for nothing.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 4,049 ✭✭✭gazzer

    Well meetings are scheduled from 10 to 12.30 and 2 till 4.30 so more or less in core times but still need to do my work around that so tend to get a good bit done from 8.15 to 10 and after 4.30. We have a LOT of meetings 😁

  • Registered Users Posts: 16,531 ✭✭✭✭yabadabado

    5 hours of meetings per day, FFS that's taking the piss.

    Assistant Sec wouldn't be in that many hours of meetings per week.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    I think the ability to accrue flexi leave will be lost in the trade off for blended working.

    I think flexi time will remain, and may become even more flexible (eg. changes to core times, staggered working hours, lunches, etc)

    Again, purely speculation on my part.

    But most people I've spoken too about it (including some here) have said they are willing to accept that trade off, to continue working from home.

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,848 ✭✭✭billyhead

    A lot of meetings are a waste of time. No need for half of them.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    @gazzer -

    I can't seem to quote your post above about lots of meetings, but some of my colleagues have implemented a rule amongst themselves - "zoom free fridays" 🙂

    (I don't work on Fridays, so every Friday is zoom free for me 😉 )

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  • Registered Users Posts: 4,049 ✭✭✭gazzer

    Sorry. I should have clarified

    Those are the range of times the meetings are can be scheduled for. Typically I'd spend about 2 to 2.5 hours a day at meetings.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    I could be wrong, but I think the point being made was that meetings are scheduled during core times - not that the poster is booked for 5 solid hours of meetings every day?

    Post edited by [Deleted User] on

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,049 ✭✭✭gazzer

  • Registered Users Posts: 16,531 ✭✭✭✭yabadabado

    Right I get you , absolutely no reason to be giving them an hour a day for nothing so.

  • Registered Users Posts: 16,531 ✭✭✭✭yabadabado

    I wonder would it be a case of only allowed build up flexi time the days you are in the office,no Flexi WFH ?

    earlier start/later close would be something I'd like to see happen.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    Maybe so....

    I don't know about other departments - mine does have physical flexi-clock terminals in our buildings, even though we've been clocking in/out on our computers during the pandemic. They'd have to find a way for the clock software to recognise the employee's location. Maybe if in the office you can only use the physical terminals?

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,506 ✭✭✭caviardreams

    If people think a lot of people wouldn't be chancing their arm accruing lots of flexi time when at home (but not actually working) they are being very naive. In the same way that it happened on-site - but there is more potential at home as no chance of being caught looking at facebook or in the canteen etc.

    Flexi accrual when WFH will never be a thing imo - on-site days only if it comes back (but flexi hours/start times, yes)

    I would often have 20 hour of meetings per week - totally depends on your role and size of your team and people management responsibilities. One to ones alone can add up with a large team and unlike on-site where you can have a minute or two check in at the desk and checking people are ok, preventing a meeting as such, it has to be a structured weekly meeting remotely.

    And a 5 min zoom just doesn't happen. 30 mins at a minimum because people miss interaction/talking about their work (even if they don't admit it), so if they are in a role where they only have one or two meetings a week they will chew your ear off for an hour if they can about everything they are working on, instead of just the roadblocks.

  • Registered Users Posts: 133 ✭✭Cdub

    I recently joined the Public Service with the AGS.

    With the announcement today that weekly hours are likely to revert back to between 35 and 37 hours per week (back to pre 2013 levels), does anyone know what hours were standard for Public Service civilians in AGS or did it vary depending on your grade? (I am an EO)

  • Registered Users Posts: 16,531 ✭✭✭✭yabadabado

    A standard day pre 2013 change was 6.57 hour per day.

    34hr45 minutes per week

  • Registered Users Posts: 133 ✭✭Cdub

    Thank you. Did that include a lunchbreak of 30 mins or an hour or were breaks on top of the 6.57 hours?

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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,644 ✭✭✭wench

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,078 ✭✭✭salonfire

    Lunch is on top.

    But the tea breaks are included. Disgraceful decision to revert to those hours. Not even 35 hours a week.

  • Registered Users Posts: 823 ✭✭✭Liberty_Bear

    I despise working from home if the truth be told. I much prefer flexi time. The working from home is great for parents of young kids or those caring for vulnerable people. I would much prefer my flexi so I can breeze off for long weekends.

  • Registered Users Posts: 332 ✭✭trigger26

    Great news on the hours, that's day a month back

  • Registered Users Posts: 34,854 ✭✭✭✭Hotblack Desiato

    Tea breaks? Last time I regularly got a proper tea break (instead of make tea, bring back to desk, continue working) was over 20 years ago

    I think some who pontificate on here about the civil service have no knowledge of it beyond watching Yes Minister or reading whatever tripe the Indo is putting out this week.

    A 35 hour (net, exclusive of lunch) working week is pretty standard for office workers in general. Still arguably too long. The 4 day week will be the next battle 😊

    Post edited by Hotblack Desiato on

    Fingal County Council are certainly not competent to be making decisions about the most important piece of infrastructure on the island. They need to stick to badly designed cycle lanes and deciding on whether Mrs Murphy can have her kitchen extension.

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,348 ✭✭✭Gusser09

    Yeh good news re the 27 minutes especially if commuting returns for a few days a week. The fact it was an independent recommendation by Kieran Mulvey means it's going to be extremely difficult for Government not to grant it. I'm not sure if the 4 day week will be anywhere near the radar just yet. More than likely they might go looking for a reduction in the pension levy. If not I'd nearly prefer the option of paying into a private pension instead and getting rid of my civil service pension. It's pathetic really.

  • Registered Users Posts: 16,531 ✭✭✭✭yabadabado

    I'm guessing you are on the single pension scheme?

    Is it really that bad ? Isn't it half career average earnings on retirement and 1.5 lump sum?

    Would a private pension be better or come close to matches it ?

    You could top up the pension with a AVC/PRSA .

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,078 ✭✭✭salonfire

    I don't need the Indo or Yes Minister to know the culture and work ethic of the civil service. The fact that they want to work less than 35 hours, even less when accounting for tea and smoke breaks, says it all.

    Then they want to compare their salaries to the private sector. Full time salary for part time jobs.

    Hopefully the Government can take a swipe back and remove flexi time in return for WFH.

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,348 ✭✭✭Gusser09

    Yeh that's it. The issue being the contributions we make toward it. I think a lot of people think it's just given to us but we are paying a fair whack into it. Already contributing to an AVC. Would be foolish not to.

    • Just to clarify I am also entitled to the contributory state pension at 66 so that takes a bit of sting out of it.

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  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    I'm neither the parent of young children or caring for anyone vulnerable, but I still prefer working from home over the office. The bonus for me is I don't spend between 2 hours (on a good day) and 3 hours (on a bad day) commuting.

    Hopefully, the option to return to the office full time with the ability to accrue flexi leave will be made available for you. There will be plenty of roles that cannot be done remotely, so I think you'll be accommodated if that is what your preference is.