Prepare for reopening, gov't agencies urged

GOVERNMENT agencies must undertake the necessary precautions for the reopening of offices in areas transitioning from a modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) to general community quarantine (GCQ) such as the National Capital Region (NCR).

The Civil Service Commission (CSC) urged heads of agencies to implement health safety measures prior to the resumption of normal operations such as disinfection and decontamination activities, conduct of heath status check among employees and modification of workplace layout to ensure observance of physical distancing requirements.

“While the government’s efficiency and responsiveness remains inviolable in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, this must be balanced with the need to protect the safety and health of the public sector workforce,” the CSC said.

Not only that, agencies are also mandated to enforce health standard protocol at all times such as wearing of face masks, taking of body temperature, and setting up of sanitation stations, for the protection of both government workers and the citizens transacting inside government offices.

Moreover, support mechanisms, such as health/psychosocial interventions, provision of personal protective equipment (PPE) to employees, and reasonable transportation facilities and housing quarters, should be made available to government workers.

Agencies may adopt alternative working arrangements (AWA) as prescribed under CSC Memorandum Circular No. 10, s. 2020 such as work-from-home arrangement, skeleton workforce, four-day or compressed workweek, and staggered working hours.

“Truly, these are difficult and critical times. Now more than ever, we, in government, need to reassess the ways we have been doing business, setting goals and targets, managing our people, and evaluating our work performance,” the CSC said.

It added:  “We need to move forward with a fresh perspective, knowing that business-as-usual may no longer cut it and that innovation has now become a crucial ingredient not only to meet organizational objectives but also to keep our employees safe, healthy, happy, and committed. To our leaders, managers, and HR officers/practitioners in the public sector, we strongly urge you to work with the CSC in establishing a 'better normal' for the bureaucracy.”