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August 08, 2020

Work from Home Culture

By Lokethar

One significant outcome of the Corona Virus Pandemic is the “Work from Home Culture” that has evolved with the “ Stay at Home” advice to the public to help stop the spread of the disease. It is not a “novel” idea that is entirely due to the Pandemic, as many persons with mobile phones have been using the device to exchange information about work even while staying at home. It nevertheless has created a new “Work from Home Culture” which has been given recognition by the “Establishment”. Now the use of e-mail in the work process will probably be more and more accepted as “legal” communication by Government offices and Public and Private Institutions, if the concerned staff are equipped with the needed authorization and the equipment.
Of course “Working from Home “ is no stranger to writers and columnists. They have long been using the internet to send written materials to the publishers, including sending manuscripts of books to be printed and published. Now a days hopefully, we need not physically go to the “Office” concerned, to complete “Forms” relating to registration and other purposes where the physical presence of the applicant can be dispensed with.
Another good thing emanating from the extension to the “Work from Home Culture” is the introduction by Private Hospitals and the Emergency Services of Online consultation by Doctors and Specialists. After an initial examination of the patient by the Specialist and the needed laboratory tests; the concerned Specialist starts the treatment. During the treatment period, further “Online” consulting from time to time about problems encountered by the patient can be made through the Hospital/ Emergency Service MO concerned. However if this service does not require the patient or the caregiver to be physically present at the health facility concerned, it would be very convenient for aged patients with mobility problems. The payment of the Specialist’s consultation fee and the health facility service charges could be made online to the account of the concerned health facility.
Besides, the “Stay at Home” guideline has speeded up the e-commerce significantly. It’s possible now to order food of one’s choice “Online”. It’s also becoming more and more possible to order “Medicines” Online , though the speed of delivery need to be increased. Purchasing goods “On Line” is also catching on fast as is “Online Banking”. As to the “Work from Home Culture” it seems that many business matters and official matters are being conducted “Online”. The office/business employee sits at home in front of the computer/laptop provided by the Department/ Business Enterprise and responds to communication related to the employee’s area of responsibility. The employee may even be required to e-mail responses to their superiors or to the Departments/ Businesses and “Clients “concerned whether in country or abroad.
There is however a hitch with “Working from Home”. It is that there seems to be no legal stipulations as yet about “Online Work Hours”. Considering that the employee may not need to be engaged in “Online Working” all the time they are at home, poses issues of break time for coffee or lunch etc. and the time to “knock off” particularly when communicating with clients/officials in countries in different time zones. Another thing is that like in the case of “flexi-time” which we are more or less familiar with, there perhaps need to be some fixed time when all the concerned persons in the different locations would need to be present in front of their computers/laptops for a video conferencing session to address issues which require an all inclusive approach. Another thing is that there should be protection against unauthorised persons standing in for the authorized employee. This is of course a security issue which must be taken up by the “Centre” using the appropriate software. The “online” working/learning practice set off by the Corona Virus Pandemic will probably help to move forward the e-Government agenda which the Government has been consistently seeking to implement. With Charity to all and Malice to none.

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