Maude backs remote working for civil servants

Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude has said that the civil service is moving away from an “old-fashioned” culture of “presenteeism”, and argued that remote working can increase productivity.

By Joshua.Chambers

08 Aug 2012

Maude was speaking to CSW to publicise a new system that allows civil servants to work from offices close to their homes. The system, ‘Find Me Some Government Space’, is available on all departmental intranets and allows civil servants to find and book office space in public sector buildings near their homes.

Last Monday, Maude toured Southern House, a hub in Croydon that has been set up to enable central London-based civil servants to avoid the city during the Olympic Games. He said that civil servants shouldn’t assume that they need to be seen working from their departments because “that’s the old face-time culture of presenteeism where people might not be confident that their managers will believe they’re working if they can’t see them,” he said.

“All the indications are that people’s productivity when they’re working remotely can improve dramatically,” Maude added.

The Cabinet Office minister also criticised press attacks on civil servants working from home during the Olympics “as it it were some kind of scam or skive. And it isn’t,” he said. “It’s a very old-fashioned approach, sometimes written by journalists who themselves are perfectly happy to work from home or... a remote place because they’re being measured not by being seen to be sitting at their desks but by the quality of their output.”

Maude said line managers must decide whether individual civil servants can work remotely.

Also read Maude on policy outsourcing


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