Work-from-home policy should also address emotional distress: Govt staff
Managing emotional distress, digital literacy and cyber hygiene are the key concerns flagged by government employees as the Centre drafts a work-from-home policy in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic.
These concerns, and how employees can be assured of an objective, performance-oriented assessment of the work they do from home, were articulated at a webinar organised by the department of science and technology, Rajasthan, in association with the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG) on Thursday.
The event could be the first in a series of webinars to be held with various states on the work-from-home policy, said an official at DARPG, which is spearheading efforts towards putting the policy in place.
“Work from home is here to stay,” DARPG additional secretary V Srinivas said at the webinar. “Offices will not work with 100% capacity in the near future. Cooperative federalism has become pivotal and we need to ensure seamless exchange of information between the Centre and the state governments...”
Charru Malhotra, associate professor at the Indian Institute of Public Administration, said ensuring equipment and infrastructure to work from home is efficient will be key. Moreover, not only physical well being, while working from home, emotional distress also has to be taken into account,” Malhotra said. “Some aren’t doing as well as they used to when offices were functional. There are a host of emotional and mental pressures that may affect the capability of people who are not used to working in closed spaces.”
Secretary of the department of science and technology, Rajasthan, Mugdha Sinha, agreed that mental health of the employees is an important factor. Dr Ritu Sharma of Delhi University said a “performance-oriented assessment should be standardised and objective”.