Government looking at how to best implement hybrid work

  • The Public Service Commission (PSC) has completed a study on the impact of hybrid work arrangements on service delivery within government.
  • The study focused on the shutdown period from March 2020 and the subsequent lockdown levels as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The PSC has made a series of recommendations based on the findings of the study.

We are nearing four years since lockdown was first implemented in South Africa as a means of addressing the COVID-19 pandemic. In that time a lot has changed, in particular the way we work, with hybrid work models being adopted by many companies who could not afford to have the entire workforce inside an office during that period.

Government too, had to adopt a remote or hybrid work approach for its employees over the two year period that a national state of disaster was in place.

With that in mind, the Public Service Commission (PSC) has completed a study on the impact of hybrid work arrangements on service delivery in the public service.

PSC Commissioner Anele Gxoyiya held a media briefing to explain that the study focused on the period starting in March 2020 when the lockdown was first put in place and the different levels of lockdown that were implemented thereafter.

Per SA News, the study investigated the actual and perceived impact that the introduction of hybrid work and work-from-home arrangements had on service delivery in the public service sector of selected departments, with a view to formulate recommendations that could assist the public service to adapt.

There were six service delivery departments/institutions that were looked at – Education, Employment and Labour, Health, South African Social Security Agency, Home Affairs, and the South African Police Service (SAPS).

Following the release of the report, four main recommendations have been made, with the most pertinent being that, “the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) should benchmark with other countries to determine how the hybrid work arrangement was managed during the pandemic and how it is being taken forward as a basis to review relevant legislation, regulations, directives, policies and conditions of service for different categories of occupations and/or employees.”

The commissioner has careful to point out that while government was quick to react and adapt during the pandemic and lockdown in order to make legislative changes, in the years since, little has been done to formalise and regulate how hybrid work is being handled.

“The study documents a combination of positive and negative practices/experiences, including notable innovative measures that were put in place by public service departments, as well as the commitment of many employees who put their lives at risk in order to provide services to the public,” said Gxoyiya.

“Performance was managed differently according to the different departments and in some instances, it varied within the different units in the respective departments,” he added.

Whether a proper framework can be outlined and implemented by the DPSA remains to be seen, but it’s clear working from home effectively needs to be a consideration not only in the private sector, but the public one too.

[Image – Photo by Nelly Antoniadou on Unsplash]


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