Has Jacinda read her own Future of Work details?

The Ministry of Justice has announced that they are restructuring positions and making some available positions work-from-home.

Close to 100 government jobs will go as the Ministry of Justice introduces a compulsory work-from-home initiative, prompting concerns the move will snowball across other departments.

The ministry has confirmed a restructure will see 202 management and staff positions disestablished and 111 new positions created, along with fixed term positions as staff move to a “home environment” later this year.

In a statement, collections general manager Bryre​ Patchell​ said about 100 collections registry positions will move from office to home over the next 13 months.​

The restructure, which will mean specialist collections units at courts around New Zealand will close, is thought to be the first of its kind in New Zealand’s public sector.

Sounds like a good initiative; retaining jobs, just moving where they do the work from, meaning that some will have an advantage of working from home. Naturally, Labour is opposed to this.

Labour justice spokeswoman Jacinda Ardern didn’t buy the efficiency line, and said this came down to cost-cutting – at the expense of face-to-face service and staff morale.

“If they will do this for this department, they will do it for others,” Ardern said.

She feared staff were being forced into their homes away from supportive environments.

“It’s not being posed as something where they are being given the choice. If you are already working in a hard environment it’s a huge thing to have that person working in isolation.

“Overridingly, this is a cost-saving initiative.”

Labour just want to keep spending money, and any money spent is spent wisely and properly – according to them. But here is the thing…Jacinda Ardern appears to be saying that if you want to work for the Ministry of Justice then you must work in an office. She dressed it up with some gay-sounding airy-fairy concepts about supportive environments but the reality is that Labour want to be prescriptive.

This flies in the face of their Future of Work Commission of which Jacinda Ardern is a key proponent, helping her pal Grant Robertson do the heavy lifting.

Workers of all generations want flexible working conditions and a flexible working environment. Younger workers rate flexible conditions twice as important as other work factors. Yet organisational practices are lagging behind technological change. Employers are often concerned about the costs flexible work can create and the additional management skills needed. There are also negatives to remote working such as loss of career and training opportunities and social isolation which need to be tackled.

There has been considerable growth in digital work hubs – often called co-working – in our cities.  Many of these hubs and co-working places are in city centres with a focus on highly curated, collaborative, innovative spaces (Biz Dojo, EPIC in Christ church, Waikato Innovation Park, Dunedin Centre for Innovation). We need such hubs in our provinces too.

Right, so Jacinda Ardern isn’t reading her own party initiatives…and, in this case, doesn’t want flexible conditions for Justice Ministry staff.

Awesome. Yet another hypocritical policy stance from a Labour MP.

 

– Fairfax

 


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  • Hard to unionise people that work from home, I suspect.

  • Joe Banana

    Nothing new here,Jacinda just proving how strong the idiot factor is within labour

  • Boss Hogg

    Jacinda, exactly what is wrong with cutting costs? The Socialists will never grasp some simple facts like there is only so much money in any budget be it house, business, city or country. I would like to see the IQ scores of every person in parliament just to confirm what we already know.

  • GerardB

    What’s the problem, I’ve been working from home for nearly 8 years. Jacinda should realise that home is the best “supporting” environment – if set up properly and if you have a sense of self discipline and time management.

    • And nobody knows when you grab a power nap! ;)

    • jcpry

      Since 1994 for me. I don’t miss the travel very day, I got to walk my children to school, I require half the time to do the work as there are no distractions from other staff, and I get to watch the NFL, NBA, MLB as a reward for churning through the work.
      Whats not to love about it!

  • Positan

    Does Jacinta actually read things? I thought she just blurted out whatever had entered her head.

    • Tiger

      So really she should be saying NOTHING then?

  • metalnwood

    I see pro’s and cons from the company as well as the workers side.

    I have worked from home a lot and it’s never been an issue. I have the freedom to mix things up between personal and business time as long as the work gets done.

    Companies can save on costs. These are the pro’s.

    The cons are that you lose the social interaction. So for myself, I catch up with old colleagues, have coffee’s with friends etc when I need to talk to adults.

    I can fully understand that some jobs when you are dealing with people on the phone all day and the conversations are not pleasant would be hard to do if you don’t have other people around. Those coffee breaks, chats with co-workers etc can make all the difference.

    At the end of the day, where you work is still up to you though.

  • Hard1

    “Labour justice spokeswoman Jacinda Ardern didn’t buy the efficiency line, and said this came down to cost-cutting – at the expense of face-to-face service and staff morale.”

    So no more yakking in the office, no more free coffee. and a boost to morale not having to face the traffic.

    • johcar

      And no more smoke breaks!

  • Dave

    My wife works from home, and almost every airport on the east coast of Australia. It works well for her, but i caution MOJ to seek serious advice on the structure, and facilities provided to the work from home workers, and have a means of team and individual communications so they are included in the work environment. Then the performance management, are they even working, or just logged on to their computer, and how do their office colleagues react to them being at home? There is far more to this than a laptop and a desk in the spare bedroom, it has a lot of upside, but a lot of downside if the human side of both the remote worker, and the office workers are overlooked.

  • Cadwallader

    The idea is terrific but there are definite disadvantages to working from home. My wife did it for a few years and found that the isolation affected her to a degree that she took deliberate steps to get out and about to meet customers rather than using her computer. In USA those who work at home have been labelled “slipper people” as they relax their personal dress codes and standards. With the need to prepare to go to work gone, a dreariness can cloud anyone’s work ethic. Having said that I’d be happy for Jacinda and cohorts to work from home, or overseas or anywhere away from the public eye.

  • Tiger

    The thought of Jacinda and Grant understanding what work is let alone wanting to make rules about work is hilarious.

  • Keanne Lawrence

    This could be a boom to productivity as well as a potential for massive cost savings as some office empires are diluted. The fortunate staff working at home will be able to concentrate on their task without the distractions of office gossip.
    If this prospect was not a primary issue considered by the Future of Work Commission then they have been lingering too long on the past instead of the future.
    It is contrary to the Labour model that they still hold sacred to fill out Departments with more bodies needing bigger spaces. As well as limiting union numbers and agitation.

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