Work from home policy development continuing

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Clarence Rambharat

Leader of Government Business in the Senate Clarence Rambharat said government’s development of a work-from-home (WFH) policy is continuing. He said the sub-committee working on the task was in the process of procuring a consultant to do further work on the policy.

Speaking in the Senate on Tuesday, Rambharat said development of the policy was being carried out by a sub-committee of permanent secretaries and heads of departments of the ministries of Planning and Development, Office of the Prime Minister, Public Administration, Labour, Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries, and the Personnel Department, which was formed before the pandemic.

“Developing this policy requires thorough study so that each worker is treated fairly and public-service delivery is improved.

“Issues for consideration include the wide range of jobs and services the public service provides as some may be more conducive to WFH while others may have become obsolete: re-skilling and re-tooling workers; terms and conditions of employment; structures and conditions and procedures to facilitate WFH; parameters of existing legislative framework; responsibilities under OSHA legislation; office space requirements; configuration at home; the locus of financial responsibilities for setting up home offices; confidentiality concerns; performance management systems; equipment requirement; succession planning; the impact of reduced face-to-face interaction, particularly the psychological impact; change management to support people who are now working from home; internal and external sensitisation and education; and value for money, transparency and accountability.

Rambharat said the work done by the sub-committee so far included research on the best practices and a survey conducted between September 2020 and December 2020.

He said the sub-committee knew that stakeholders must be involved in the development and decision-making processes was procuring a consultant to conduct further interaction and consultation. That procurement would happen in April and the consultancy completed by the end of September. He said the consultancy would determine the direction the policy would take.