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Civil Service - Post Lockdown - Blended Working?

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  • I am all for hybrid working but how are managers dealing with things like missed deadlines, people not turning up for teams meetings as they "lost track of time", unanswered emails for weeks at a time in some cases though?

    If you want to discuss something and your email just gets radio silence, what do you do? In the F2F world you can at least pop by the desk and the person has to engage to some extent.


    There is no real performance management structure for these things, and with 100% remote working it makes things even harder to support staff with the above issues.

    That also goes the other way I've heard were HEO's who haven't been in contact with their staff since March 2020.

    But anyone with the slightest bit of cop on knows the PS will be returning to the office for the majority of the time next year. The good times will be over. Difficult staff will just have to deal with it or find a job that suits their new lifestyle.




  • I am all for hybrid working but how are managers dealing with things like missed deadlines, people not turning up for teams meetings as they "lost track of time", unanswered emails for weeks at a time in some cases though?

    If you want to discuss something and your email just gets radio silence, what do you do? In the F2F world you can at least pop by the desk and the person has to engage to some extent.


    There is no real performance management structure for these things, and with 100% remote working it makes things even harder to support staff with the above issues.

    Well if I missed a deadline I know my manager would give me a ring and say here what’s the craic are ya alright ? Very hard to legislate and mitigate to stop odd balls being odd balls. They’ll always find a way, in or out of the office.




  • I am all for hybrid working but how are managers dealing with things like missed deadlines, people not turning up for teams meetings as they "lost track of time", unanswered emails for weeks at a time in some cases though?

    If you want to discuss something and your email just gets radio silence, what do you do? In the F2F world you can at least pop by the desk and the person has to engage to some extent.


    There is no real performance management structure for these things, and with 100% remote working it makes things even harder to support staff with the above issues.

    I haven’t found the above to be an issue at all.




  • $hifty wrote: »
    The nature of the work in each place will determine who and how many staff can work from home.

    I mean, almost everybody in the OGP can work from home as it is nearly all computer-based work. But how many employees in the Parks division of DCC can say the same? A dispute resolution officer in the RTB can hear cases from the comfort of their living room, but try telling someone in DSP that they now have to start paying social welfare payments out their front window, see how well that goes down.

    To answer the OP, nobody knows. It will, 100%, be down to each individual HR department. There will be some sort of over-arching circular issued that covers this, but quite simply, there is no "one-size-fits-all" arrangement that can be made.

    This is the real challenge for management and the unions and we are already seeing difficulties with this in my Department. A good cohort of our offices are public facing and already the wfh roles, when advertised, are gaining far more interest than the public office roles.

    Senior managers who were vehemently pro wfh are now having to deal with an 'us and them' scenario where the staff having to attend work physically are seeing the rest sitting back at their zoom meetings able to run a quick errand and pick up children, and make the time up elsewhere.

    This will become a bigger issue for recruitment into public facing departments. The likes of Social Welfare, OPW, Oireachtas and the wider public sector where attendance is necessary will become unpopular for recruitment leading to an even bigger 'us and them' scenario.




  • I am all for hybrid working but how are managers dealing with things like missed deadlines, people not turning up for teams meetings as they "lost track of time", unanswered emails for weeks at a time in some cases though?

    If you want to discuss something and your email just gets radio silence, what do you do? In the F2F world you can at least pop by the desk and the person has to engage to some extent.


    There is no real performance management structure for these things, and with 100% remote working it makes things even harder to support staff with the above issues.

    There is a performance management structure in place. Be it in the office or remote it will come down to the competence of the manager to deal with poor performance.


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  • This is the real challenge for management and the unions and we are already seeing difficulties with this in my Department. A good cohort of our offices are public facing and already the wfh roles, when advertised, are gaining far more interest than the public office roles.

    Senior managers who were vehemently pro wfh are now having to deal with an 'us and them' scenario where the staff having to attend work physically are seeing the rest sitting back at their zoom meetings able to run a quick errand and pick up children, and make the time up elsewhere.

    This will become a bigger issue for recruitment into public facing departments. The likes of Social Welfare, OPW, Oireachtas and the wider public sector where attendance is necessary will become unpopular for recruitment leading to an even bigger 'us and them' scenario.

    If we’ve found workable work/life balance for one side, the solution is to find it for the other too, not take it back to level the scale. Forsa are running a pilot for the 4 day for this reason, to find flexible working options for public facing people, or people who can’t work remotely, we need others too. Going forward there’ll be additional perks will be found.




  • If we’ve found workable work/life balance for one side, the solution is to find it for the other too, not take it back to level the scale. Forsa are running a pilot for the 4 day for this reason, to find flexible working options for public facing people, or people who can’t work remotely, we need others too. Going forward there’ll be additional perks will be found.

    I don't see how that deals with the issue that certain roles do not lend itself to working 4 days, especially in areas dealing with compliance and statutory deadlines where customers want the same level of service provided on Monday mornings and Friday evenings. Phones have to be answered and daily post has to be stamped all in line with existing resources and budgetary provisions. I'm not sure what the additional perks you speak about could be but I am interested.




  • Post? Offices should be doing their best to move to paperless systems.
    The last 18 months have proven that public offices aren’t required as much as was previously thought.
    Management will have to be flexible and adapt to change. Prove they have the competencies they’re supposed to have!
    Look at how quickly and effectively the PUP went online. That’s the future.




  • Addle wrote: »
    Post? Offices should be doing their best to move to paperless systems.
    The last 18 months have proven that public offices aren’t required as much as was previously thought.
    Management will have to be flexible and adapt to change. Prove they have the competencies they’re supposed to have!
    Look at how quickly and effectively the PUP went online. That’s the future.

    I agree but the public are still entitled to submit requests in writing and we are obliged to look after vulnerable members of the public who do not access computers for various reasons.




  • I agree but the public are still entitled to submit requests in writing and we are obliged to look after vulnerable members of the public who do not access computers for various reasons.

    Absolutely, I agree. And office opening hours can be set to suit.


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  • Addle wrote: »
    Post? Offices should be doing their best to move to paperless systems.
    The last 18 months have proven that public offices aren’t required as much as was previously thought.
    Management will have to be flexible and adapt to change. Prove they have the competencies they’re supposed to have!
    Look at how quickly and effectively the PUP went online. That’s the future.

    You can't really compare a covid lockdown to normal demand for public service.

    The automation of claims/processes such as PUP means less staff full stop rather than more staff sitting at home.

    Common sense is you can't have a situation where some staff work full time from home, while others in the frontline(public-facing) have no such benefits(in already more demanding roles in many cases) in the same department




  • doc22 wrote: »
    You can't really compare a covid lockdown to normal demand for public service.

    The automation of claims/processes such as PUP means less staff full stop rather than more staff sitting at home.

    Common sense is you can't have a situation where some staff work full time from home, while others in the frontline(public-facing) have no such benefits(in already more demanding roles in many cases) in the same department

    Well it’s going to be right to request soon enough by law and you need a good reason to say no, or, it’s down to the wrc to decide. Then it’ll end up case by case based on the requirements of the job.




  • BrianD3 wrote: »
    That's ridiculous. You are seriously comparing WFH to demanding a 20k pay rise from your employer?

    Yes, I am. They're both vital cornerstones of any employee contract and posters are advising everything up to and including industrial action to get their way. This is ridiculous, childish, entitled behaviour and is exactly the sort of ammo used to slaughter civil and public servants across the mdia.
    BrianD3 wrote: »
    WFH benefits employees, society and in many cases, employers. Nobody is going to expect WFH if they are in a role that clearly isn't suitable e.g. nurse in a hospital. Best of luck to any such nurse who tries to demand WFH.

    First off, I never got into the merits of WFH, clearly it has benefits to everybody if implemented properly. You are taking my post on its own, without considering the posters to whom I replied. They were calling for a 'one-size-fits-all' policy to be implemented across the entirety of the civil service and said we had a duty to start lobbying the unions and TDs to get what 'we' want (meaning what that poster wants). We have no such duty or responsibility. We do have a responsibility to do the job we signed up to do, in the manner our employer deems appropriate and in the LOCATION our employer deems appropriate.
    BrianD3 wrote: »
    The problem is that WFH, where possible, will be refused for spurious reasons including fear of change, middle manager insecurity, desire for control, sadism, wanting to look important, office status

    Pure conjecture, without foundation. You're getting worked up about something that may never come to pass. Chillax the cacks.
    BrianD3 wrote: »
    If you want to talk about car parking spaces, consider the following....

    I've no idea what point you're trying to make here.




  • $hifty wrote: »
    Yes, I am. They're both vital cornerstones of any employee contract and posters are advising everything up to and including industrial action to get their way. This is ridiculous, childish, entitled behaviour and is exactly the sort of ammo used to slaughter civil and public servants across the mdia.



    First off, I never got into the merits of WFH, clearly it has benefits to everybody if implemented properly. You are taking my post on its own, without considering the posters to whom I replied. They were calling for a 'one-size-fits-all' policy to be implemented across the entirety of the civil service and said we had a duty to start lobbying the unions and TDs to get what 'we' want (meaning what that poster wants). We have no such duty or responsibility. We do have a responsibility to do the job we signed up to do, in the manner our employer deems appropriate and in the LOCATION our employer deems appropriate.



    Pure conjecture, without foundation. You're getting worked up about something that may never come to pass. Chillax the cacks.



    I've no idea what point you're trying to make here.

    Do you believe in global warming? Have you noticed the weather in Canada recently? If the answer to both of those questions are yes, then, you should understand why we all have a responsibility to lobby for positive change regarding lowering unnecessary carbon emissions in our society.

    Also, there is a housing crisis in this country because for years we centred everything around Dublin and now people can’t afford to buy or rent houses there. So remote working offers a once in a life time quick displacement of jobs that could continue to level the housing market nationwide as seen in the most recent daft analysis. People will no longer be forced by necessity to move from the likes of Clare to live on the commuter belt to work in town, where all the jobs are for some reason. The secondary effect will be people who want to live in Dublin will actually be able to get bang for their buck and won’t be paying crazy money to live in a half bedroom separated by a piece of wood.

    Lastly, most employees want this, according to multiple surveys, now the problem is that the government will be lobbied by vested interest groups who want Dublin City footfall to return to pre coronavirus levels. This is unique and unlike other employer and employee relationships, so because of that people, if they want the kind of change I outlined above have a responsibility to make it happen themselves! If they don’t want it that’s grand, do nothing.




  • No update on this but sure that many departments got the spiel this week on about blended working policy that came out. Very very little concrete in in, although most interesting thing they did remark was that departments should be gradually returning to the office from September 2021. There will be a transition to blended long-term blended working between September 2021 to March 2022 and then departments should aim to have their new blended policies in place by April 2022.





  • Surely it will depend on the area of the PS, with some areas being suitable for remote working and others not. The property registration authority had 345 employees working part time during restrictions in December. This is 8 months into the pandemic, so they had plenty of time to make whatever changes were required. Of course, we only know about this because of a TD asking a question in the Dail, we have no idea what the situation was in other areas.





  • We're all back in the office. Looks to be the way for the foreseeable unfortunately. Its disappointing as I've a 2hour round trip and young children at home.

    We've been told we can work from home here and there if we can prove the work we are doing at home can be done more efficiently at home than at the office. Obviously this is never the case (though it can be done just as efficiently). Find it annoying that other civil servants at the same level get perks that we don't just because of the department we're in (remote working, shorter working year etc).

    Also our flexi time still hasn't been restored since before the pandemic. Is this the case everywhere?





  • What Department?


    They'll be war if people in the same department get it and others don't, like SWY refusals the unions will be busy





  • I'm Courts Service. Not a great area to be in. Seems to operate differently from large Departments.


    We've only ever been allowed to take 2 weeks swy and not allowed to take any extended leave (more than 2 consecutive days) 6 weeks either side of it. They've been threatening to not grant any swy requests for years now and I think staffing issues due to pandemic will be the perfect excuse.





  • It also said that those who are allowed opt for blended working, will have to attend office at regular intervals. So it looks like full WFH is off the cards, with maybe defined days for attendance, which is a pity.



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  • Unless I'm misreading something, I'm not getting any indication that 'blended' working is anything except 1 day a week to work from home. Or work out of one of those office hubs that Heather Humphries launched a while back.









  • Read the spiel today and it certainly has plenty of vagueness and buzzwords but basically when it comes down to it, it was exactly what I expected it would be all along. 😏

    Remote working will end up being run very much along the same lines as flexible working hours. The employee will have the right to request remote working, but the employer will also have the right to refuse, based on business needs, yada, yada, yada. Each department will run their own version of the scheme.

    But, what will be universal to all is that the right to request remote working will be statutory so if someone is refused they can take a case to the WRC, and then the employer will then need to give their reasons why it was refused, and show why the employee is requried to be office based. They won't be able to just dismiss an application to remote work out of hand. And given how many public and civil servants have successfully completed their roles from home the last 15/16 months, it could lead to some interesting challenges being brought to the WRC.

    A lot of, shall we say, more easily intimidated staff might balk at the idea of taking the official route to the WRC if their requests to WFH are refused, and some micro-managing, clock watching, over the shoulder type middle managers will count on this (we all know the type).

    But lets just say (hypothetically), if my employer did insist on a full time return to the office, entailing a return to a minimum of a 2 hour return commute daily (sometimes longer), well then - they would also have to expect that a return to pre-covid working conditions would also mean a return to pre-covid productivity levels. There are only so many hours in the day, and 10-15 hours a week commuting really takes it out of a person. 😉





  • Any indication when Revenue offices be open?





  • Disappointing to see no explicit right to NOT work for home for those who can't or won't WFH. The reference to making savings on office space in the future seems to suggest that the days of having a dedicated office or desk are gone, except at very senior level.





  • (Sorry for quoting whole post, can't seem to find way to edit the clip...)

    I know Forsa are looking for a "right to opt out" from WFH for the employee, though I don't know how this will work out in regards to office space / desk allocations in practice.






  • Something that I could see playing out in the PS/CS is an offer of token WFH, in effect throwing out a few sweeties to keep the children happy. E.g. you have someone who could objectively and based on their agreed duties, WFH 4 days a week. They request this and the PS employer grudgingly allows them half a day a week. This is no more acceptable than not allowing WFH at all, IIRC this was covered in the public consultation on the right to request remote work so I hope everyone got their submissions in.

    WFH would make such a difference to many people's lives that the upside may well negate any feelings of intimidation, in the PS at least where dirty tactics like managing out and smearing a person's "reputation in the industry" for taking a case to the WRC don't work. Add to that the chronic understaffing and poor morale in many areas of the PS and I could see employees taking the view that they have nothing to lose and a lot to gain by being "awkward". The WRC could end up swamped, as far as I'm aware, like many public bodies it is already chronically understaffed.

    The attitude to WFH and the ignoring of public health guidelines has shone a spotlight on poor management in parts of the PS - bizarre, childish, neurotic management practices with managers terrified of change and alternating between disengagement and micromanagement when it suits. It will have become clear in some cases that managers who were previously thought of as being mediocre are actually a lot worse than that.





  • I would be surprised if many jobs, public or private, will be working 4 days from home. For those that do, it will be areas that have highly motivated staff who don't really need to be monitored. The PS isn't particularly well known for good managers or indeed easy to manage staff. This will probably affect the amount of WFH available, all having to pay for the sins of a few I suppose. But that is the system.



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  • The right to request remote working could mean a day a week at home or at a hub too not full time at home, so if they give you a day they satisfied the request. But who's is going to pay for the use of hubs either.

    With regards to not having your own desk I can't see that happening at a large scale.



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