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Civil Service - Post Lockdown - Blended Working?

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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,018 ✭✭✭ Loueze


    Work started on the protocol months ago and was at an advanced stage before everything came to a halt in November.

    Don't believe everything you read in the press! The Irish Times information is long out of date.



  • Registered Users Posts: 4,872 ✭✭✭ caviardreams


    Oh I totally agree. I just mean in the CS, what do you do with the remote worker who isn't doing anything? It's impossible to actually do anything with unions, weak HR, and legals issues, the manager will be the one in the firing line for pressurising the employee - not the other way round - so if you want to save your own job as a manager you just have to turn a blind eye. At least in the office, it's easier to keep a closer eye on these workers and stop by the desk to ask/follow up on late work, and even the potential of being door-stopped about late work can keep people a bit more tuned in.

    I think some people here have never managed staff whose default communication style is radio silence and who never deliver on deadlines. If you have, you will know that it's not an easy situation, and there's no fix, as often these workers are "protected" for various reasons.



  • Registered Users Posts: 7 martysparty


    Not sure how talks on WFH policy stalled in November. If its because they couldn't be in the same room to discuss the policy then that doesn't augur well for any future policy that they might come up with. If the mindset that you need to physically meet up or physically be present to deliver work is the mindset of people tasked with delivering a wfh policy then I don't hold out much hope for that policy providing any meaningful chnage to the way things were pre covid.



  • Registered Users Posts: 7,527 ✭✭✭ BrianD3


    The right to request remote work legislation was mentioned on the 9 o'clock news last night. Labour Party not happy with what is being proposed.

    Apparently, employees will have the right to request and if it is refused will have the right to appeal but ultimately the contract of employment trumps all. Given that every contract I've ever seen had a location clause, that would make the legislation virtually useless and leave granting remote working at the discretion of the employer. As it is at the moment.

    As for the civil and public service, if there is a policy on remote working its guaranteed that power will be given to managers to refuse remote working. Something like "remote work of up to 2 days per week may be granted if approved by an employee's line manager". In that case, if your manager is one of the many dinosaurs in the PS, you'll be in 5 days per week.



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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,510 ✭✭✭ Flinty997


    If a manager can veto it. Then its toast.



  • Registered Users Posts: 4,872 ✭✭✭ caviardreams


    I agree about wanting to retain top performers - but realistically how many would leave the CS if they only got 2 days per week remote? There is a queue of hungry new entrants at the door, even if 3-4 days on-site was required I would imagine. And, management may even take the view that more on-site working may push weaker performers or "difficult" types to leave and find a fully remote gig elsewhere which could benefit the CS



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  • Registered Users Posts: 4,227 ✭✭✭ SouthWesterly


    Got an email today saying no immediate plans to return to the office while they finalise hybrid working. It will be the only thing that will keep people in the dept. The amount who want to leave is "everybody" 😁



  • Registered Users Posts: 4,916 ✭✭✭ hardybuck


    I think there's huge complacency around this issue. As it is it takes months to replace people who leave on internal mobility or promotion. The lack of corporate knowledge around many teams right now is fairly worrying, and it's set to get worse with the retirement cliff.

    An inflexible approach to blended working will hasten retirements, career breaks, shorter working year applications, reduced working patterns and also resignations.

    I've worked on two teams in the last two years and I'm only one of 5 colleagues at my level who lives within an hour of the office.

    I remember making a suggestion years ago that the CS should do a survey to see where people actually live and how they commute to work in the morning, but there was no appetite for it. Or remote working.

    A lot at stake here over the next 6-12 months.



  • Registered Users Posts: 4,227 ✭✭✭ SouthWesterly


    I moved to a dept in Dublin and sold my house the same day with a plan on moving west.

    I asked about remote working and was told no. I've spoken to several new starts in the last few years from that dept and they've never been in the office

    I saw a location move in an old dept which precipitated everyone with 40 plus years under statutory retirement age to retire early. Added to that mobility moves by the bus load



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,510 ✭✭✭ Flinty997


    I'm not sure you're right.

    It's not as attractive as once was with changes in pensions, slow promotion and at least in technical roles salary is uncompetitive with the private sector. It's just not attracting young people into it.





  • Registered Users Posts: 10,305 ✭✭✭✭ snoopsheep


    lads ye can check out the WRC powers to instruct and what the right to request means without speculating feverishly and getting all worked up.

    I'm not aware of any decisions made on the govt side specifically yet but centrally DPER will be aware that the WRC will be able to enforce a reasonable request without breaking sweat (and the vast majority of workers will have been performing their duties and have it on record as doing so) so the idea that anyone can "guarantee" that the policy will bring us all back into the office on restrictive terms sounds unlikely to me just at this stage

    agreement of a standard 3/2 or thereabouts with yer manager will I suspect become a handy default and the edge cases of disagreement or where the role genuinely demands presence will be sorted through a longer process over time, same as always



  • Registered Users Posts: 4,872 ✭✭✭ caviardreams


    I think the 3/2 day split is the reasonable compromse here and I can't see the WRC over-ruling a manager / employer who offers it - it;s the fully remote question that's the test case here. IMO if an employer offers 3 days in office and 2 days remote, I think the WRC would not be jumping to over rule it as it's a reasonable compromise - lots of employees will want fully remote though.



  • Registered Users Posts: 157 ✭✭ Bellie1


    Leo Varadkar has mentioned choice. You'd hope that if someone wants 3 or 4 days at home, then the legislation is framed in such a way that the wrc support the employees choice. But yeah, I can see it panning out as a compromise situation



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,059 ✭✭✭ HerrKuehn


    Why would someone be paid to work on some meaningless task?



  • Registered Users Posts: 676 ✭✭✭ Foggy Jew


    There is a huge possibility that another Covid variant will hit us next autumn - resulting in further lockdowns. Managers in the CS should be aware that pettiness & petulance now could well come back to bite them on the arse if this happens. The vast majority of civil servants stepped up to the plate & worked effectively and efficiently from home. They should be given the right to continue to do so, albeit for two or three days a week.



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,427 ✭✭✭ Gusser09


    Local management wont block blended working or force staff in for 5 days a week for no good reason. At the same time local management have to be able to veto blended working for staff who arent productive. That's the contract in reality.



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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,059 ✭✭✭ HerrKuehn


    They will probably be unable to veto it for unproductive workers as the unions will want everyone to be treated the same. So its probably easier to get everyone back into the office.



  • Registered Users Posts: 10,305 ✭✭✭✭ snoopsheep


    3 and 2 in either mix will suit some and 4 and 1 will suit others and 5 either way will suit others and like anything else it'll be a case of individuals working out what is agreeable to all in their own context, there'll be no one solution.



  • Registered Users Posts: 25,537 ✭✭✭✭ gmisk


    Well that didn't seem like a sensible move tbh. It was always likely there would be at least a partial return to the office.

    Location move is totally different.



  • Registered Users Posts: 10,305 ✭✭✭✭ snoopsheep


    if 98% of our workforce in the CS are 25-65 then what % would we expect to see in that last 11 years?

    round or about 28% I'd suggest but not I'm not a mathematician.

    promotion is not slow, but for seven years post 2008 it was alright. there's been a burst since and the working of PAS and internal competitions do surely require you build a broad base and learn the ropes of how to approach forms/interviews. but I know plenty of HEOs, APs under 40, for instance, and AOs probably don't even average that age- these are solid middle management grades to be at at that age imo and it's not that difficult to get there with a few breaks, some ability, decent application.


    anyway, you cant both warn against a retirement cliff and say there's no opportunities- the former will drive the latter, twas always this.



  • Registered Users Posts: 4,916 ✭✭✭ hardybuck


    It'll become interesting when Departments want to access specialist skills and hire someone who doesn't live near the workplace and wants fully (or mostly) remote working.

    They'll either have to start giving more than remote access than originally desired and the precedent is made, or they'll perhaps cut off their nose to spite their face and say no to hold the line.



  • Registered Users Posts: 4,227 ✭✭✭ SouthWesterly


    My move was long before Covid was a cell in a petri dish so wfh wasn't ever on the horizon.



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,018 ✭✭✭ Loueze


    We've lost four out of fifteen already to the private sector, to full time remote working, because they didn't want to come back to Dublin and 100% remote working is not on the table. These were not junior staff, and believe me, we're already feeling their loss badly.



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,427 ✭✭✭ Gusser09


    Not to mention the specialized areas such as ICT where jobs are a plenty at the moment and the money is crazy in the private sector compared to the public sector. There isn't a steady amount of new entrants suitably qualified or skilled banging at the door to get into these positions.

    In short the Government really have to take the lead here and show that they plan on implementing a fully remote working model in the civil service if staff want it.



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,059 ✭✭✭ HerrKuehn


    I would say the main issue with ICT type staff is that the CS/PS insists on bringing them in at some grade like EO/AO, then moving along with increments. It wouldn't be attractive to most tech people to be perfectly honest. I have always negotiated a salary and yearly increase. I don't think it is necessarily due to full time remote working availability, most tech companies won't have that either. The types of things that the CS can offer, like job security just aren't the things that tech people are looking for. That's before you even get into the culture and the type of work. The OPW paid some staff double expenses because they still use a paper based system rather than a phone app as everyone else has been using for the last decade!




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  • Registered Users Posts: 995 ✭✭✭ kennethsmyth


    Offices these days either work 9-5.30 if lucky, hours seem to be 9-6 or 8.30 to 5.30 due to American company influence - 9-5 is long gone



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