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Guidelines issued for ‘Work from home’ in govt offices post lockdown

Department of Personnel and Training may provide an option of work from home to the eligible officers/staff for 15 days in a year as a policy.

May 14, 2020 18:40 IST
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The personnel ministry had come up with a draft framework for ‘work from home’ policy for the central govt employees post lockdown.  

With an assertion that government employees may have to work with variable hours and staggered even post lockdown, the Department of Personnel and Training may provide an option of work from home to the eligible officers/staff for 15 days in a year as a policy.

Presently there are 48.34 lakh central government employees. The personnel ministry stated that due to the ongoing pandemic, it has become necessary for many ministries to operate from home to maintain social distancing.

Work From Home in government ministries:

The draft framework released by the ministry mentioned that many of the departments in the Indian government have successfully managed their operations and have given results amid the lockdown by leveraging video conferencing facilities and e-office of the National Informatics Centre (NIC), making it a unique experience for the government.

The ministry further added that it is likely that the central Secretariat might continue staggered attendance and fluctuating working hours to maintain social distancing at the workplace.

Therefore, a framework of Work from home is required to standardize the operations even post lockdown. It will also be important to ensure the safety and security of the operations while accessing the government files from home.

Key Highlights:

•  75 ministries have been actively using e-platform out of which 57 have achieved more than 80 percent of their work.

•  SOPs have been finalised for the employees to ensure the smooth functioning of the government even in the post lockdown situation.

•  As per the guidelines, the departments who have not been using the e-office module will have to make an endeavor for its implementation in their secretariat in a time-bound manner.

•  Central government departments must send their comments by May 21, failure to which will lead to a presumption that the department agrees with a proposed draft.

Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for work from home:

•  The logistics support in the form of laptops/desktop will be provided to the employees by the departments/ministries.

•  The guidelines have stated that ministries may use the inventory of laptops which will be on a rotational basis for the officers who will be working from home and will need logistic support.

•  The employees may also get reimbursement for the internet that they will be using while working from home. Separate guidelines may also be issued in this regard.

•  Extra protocol for all VIP and Parliament matters have been also been proposed. Therefore, SMS alerts will be sent for all the receipts and files to the next officer in the channel.

•  As per the Ministry of Home Affairs instructions, classified papers and files will not be allowed to be processed while working from home.

•  NIC will have to evaluate the security protocol in consultation with the home ministry for accessing the classified file and propose suitable guidelines.

•  Officers who will be provided with official laptops must ensure that they do only official work.

•  National Informatics Centre will ensure that the devices are well protected against malicious and malware websites.

•  Officers who will be working from home must be available on phone as per the requirement and the directions from the office.

•  For inter-ministerial consultations, the exchange of files between the departments must be made seamlessly in e-office.

•  Video conferencing will be facilitated by the NIC for important meetings while working from home. Officers will be able to attend the meeting by activating the VC link.

•  NIC has also been asked to strengthen the VC.

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