Moves to revamp working from home procedures and implement site-specific Covid-safe plans have been welcomed by the Staff Association as the latest features of CSIRO’s workforce response to the coronavirus.
The comprehensive update to the working from home policy – currently subject to all staff consultation before implementation – follows the successful roll out of a resource package to better equip home workspaces.
Meanwhile the development of Covid-safe plans for specific CSIRO workplaces comes after sustained advocacy by the Staff Association and at a time when all sites – with the exception of those located in Melbourne – move to the final stage of the organisation’s phased approach to reopening.
The new and updated working from home procedure ‘outlines the mandatory requirements for staff members and CSIRO affiliates who intend to work from home.’
‘Working from home is an option supported at CSIRO that may be accessed by staff members and CSIRO affiliates depending on the nature of their role. It is expected that staff will work at a CSIRO location, as and when required or agreed,’ the procedure states.
The policy is built on six objectives – availability, agreement, eligibility, flexibility, resources and approval – and the detailed procedure outlines the necessary steps to achieve these outcomes.
This includes discussion with line management to initiate the application, consideration of personal wellbeing (including adequate resource provision), management of work tasks in the home working environment to eliminate or reduce safety risks, maintaining contact with team members to facilitate collaboration and supervision, protecting CSIRO physical and intellectual property assets, the provision of supporting documentation (where necessary) and various roles and responsibilities for CSIRO managers, staff members and affiliates.
Staff Association Secretary Sam Popovski welcomed the development of the enhanced working from home procedure.
“The new working from home procedure is a worthy offering that is particularly timely and relevant given that many CSIRO staff continue to work from home as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.”
“While the remote working conditions in the enterprise agreement outline the basic legal principles and protections underpinning these arrangements at CSIRO; the development of an additional, comprehensive working from home procedure will provide all staff with more options and support to work effectively between home and CSIRO sites on an ongoing basis.”
“It’s important that this procedure is understood by all staff, particularly the rights and entitlements to access working from home. The Staff Association is committed to ensuring every CSIRO worker is treated fairly – if staff have a preference and can conduct work from home, approval should always be granted by CSIRO management,” Mr Popovski said.
Meanwhile, the renewed efforts of the Situation Management Team (SMT) with site leaders to develop specific Covid-safe plans deserved acknowledgement, Mr Popovski said.
“The health and wellbeing of CSIRO staff working on site remains front of mind. In keeping with this aim, the union welcomes the development of new site-specific Covid-safe plans so coronavirus risks can be appropriately managed at each and every CSIRO site.”
“Staff Association advocacy for site-specific plans has only been possible through committed representation from workplace delegates on our Covid working group. Please continue to contact these representatives with your input,” Mr Popovski said.
Staff Association members are encouraged to provide feedback on the new working from home procedure or site-specific Covid-safe plans by email or by contacting the COVID-19 working group.