CS remote or flexitime work part of traffic solution

| 22/09/2020 | 99 Comments

(CNS): Deputy Governor Franz Manderson has introduced formal policies for both flexible and remote working for civil servants. Despite concerns that the public sector is not doing much to address the traffic problems, with a return to significant congestion levels last week, the civil service boss said the policies introducing this shift were proving successful and that the civil service was working with Cabinet ministers to be part of the solution.

At the start of the second week of September he estimated that around half of the staff members were in the Government Administration Building on Elgin Avenue but he expected this had increased last week.  

“Our main focus is to deliver outstanding support to ministers and our customers while being flexible in our working arrangements,” he told CNS in response to queries about the plan to continue post COVID-19 lockdown with remote working and to introduce more flexible hours. “We are working with ministers to be part of the solution and will continue to be innovative in our approach to addressing the traffic congestion.”

In 2019 the number of people working in the core civil service or for public authorities was around 6,500, which was already a significant percentage of the workforce. But following the departure of thousands of private sector work permit holders and contract workers since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, public servants now make up an even larger portion of the morning and evening commuters.

The congestion is worse now that children are back in school and private sector workers are back in office, so permitting public sector staff who are able to work at home to do so or staggering their start and finish times should lessen the traffic jams, especially from the Eastern Districts.

According to the new policies, the use of flexitime and remote working arrangements will be “assessed against how well it optimizes customer outcomes” and the balance between delivery of services and work-life gains, such as traffic avoidance.

Both policies were introduced on 9 September and remain in effect until further notice. The change from being in the office from Monday to Friday, 9:00am to 5:00pm, will not just alleviate traffic issues but it is expected to help employees manage their daily hours to balance the needs of the business of government with the needs of their own family lives.

Neither policy is meant to replace the traditional office-based working schedule but both provide avenues for public servants to improve their working lives, provided they satisfy the necessary criteria and are able to stay productive.

“Remote working is not expected to be the exclusive way our teams work; rather, a healthy mix should exist for work produced within the office and from outside the office,” the policy states. The policies also note that the availability of flexible working hours is not intended to change the regular hours of operation of the civil service

The policy documents indicate that neither remote working nor flexitime will be appropriate for all staff, such as those whose duties require them to be in the workplace, as well as staff already working shifts, uniform services and teachers.

But many other public servants will be able to stagger or even split their five days, for example choosing to work from 7:30am to 4:00pm on Monday to Friday, or working from 7:00am to noon and 3:30pm to 6:00pm. Another option is to compress the week or fortnight, working four or nine longer days over a week or two, and then take a day off.

Civil servants wishing to work flexible hours or work from home should apply in writing to their manager, who will then assess whether or not the change would maintain or enhance the operation of the relevant department and if the employee’s work performance would be adversely affected. The decision to approve or deny remains entirely in the hands of the managers, the policy indicates.

See the policy documents in the CNS Library

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Category: Government Administration, Local News, Politics

Comments (99)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Yet many employers in Financial Services are insisting that employees report to office and are not permitting on line work.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I saw recently some old geezer from a law firm said on social media that people needed to come back to offices. He was supported by another old geezer.

    Loneliness prevention is not the function of offices.

    • Anonymous says:

      The old geezers don’t like the loss of control or the lack of “face time” ie groveling from junior associates. Just remember that law firms are just large pyramid schemes, they need a constant stream of sheep willing to work hard for little money for the promise of one day being one of the old geezers making a fortune $$$ at the top.

    • Anonymous says:


  3. Anonymous says:

    I dont live in the eastern districts, but how can you expect someone to work from home there when they cant even get access to fibre internet?

    • Anonymous says:

      I live in one of the eastern districts and fibre is sorely missing. However, although the coverage is spotty at times, the job still gets done.

    • Anonymous says:

      How ungrateful negative posters.

      When you went running under your beds because of COVID-19 it was the civil service who stepped up and kept us safe.

      Thank you CIG for making Cayman the safest place on earth right now.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Problem is that managers don’t like it do they don’t let people work from home. I have been a civil servant for a decade, thought I had earned trust, but when I asked about about working remotely they said the best they could give me was 1/2 day, picked by them, they will let me know which one. Pointless. Thanks anyway. I’ll just keep clogging up the road…

    • Anonymous says:

      You really played that one well. Now you don’t even have half a day to run some errands and live a life. Next time call my employer and tell her I can have your half-day. I’ll use it.

  5. Proudcivilservant says:

    Most of the posters here are relaying their experiences years ago.

    The civil service has undergone dramatic change under Mr Manderson leadership. I should know I have been a civil servant for 15 years.

    If you don’t believe me call 9497900 today or send an email to a civil servant.

    Also if we are so bad why did 93% of 500,000 customers who took time to press the Happy or not buttons said they were Happy with our service.

    I wish the private sector would follow the civil service lead with remote work and flexible work hours. Only then will be see a change in the traffic jams.

    I am proud civil servant and will not work anywhere else.

    • Anonymous says:

      PR poster

      Working for Franzie boy!

    • Anonymous says:

      They probably pressed the happy button because they were amazed that they got their business done with no bullshit or delays. That is the MINIMUM standard – it’s nothing to brag about. Organisations that actually have satisfied customers have no need to install machines for you to tell them how great they are.

    • Anonymous says:

      9:37 am, of course you won’t work no where else,for no where else is going to pay you what you getting in the civil service for what you doing, and after civil servants being off work on full pay for 5 months, then they goes on vacation, and it’s no use to call, for civil servants won’t answer their phones, they too busy doing there nails

  6. Sucka Free Cayman says:

    Stop gap measures will not stop this congestion situation unfortunately! Simply stop increasing and expanding our population will ! It’s not rocket science Franz but you expansionist wizards cannot afford this because your development projects will have to be seriously curtailed. Making already lazy entitled gowerment employees lazier so you can continue to justify the destruction and polluting of our fragile environment is easier I guess eh?

    • Anonymous says:

      I am so proud of our civil service. I attended a carbibean wide seminar last week in which our Deputy Governor was the key note speaker.

      The audience which was over 1000 persons was simply blown away by his presentation.

      We in Cayman simply doesn’t appreciate the service we receive from our civil service and how far the civil service has come over the years.

      In my country an application sent to any government departments takes years and a visit to a government department requires you to take the day off.

      Forget online services or innovation which is the normal for caymans civil service.

      So appreciate what you have here in Cayman. While no civil service or company is perfect I can tell you that Caymans civil service is by far the most efficient in the region.

      Let me leave you with something the DG shared. One civil service department has obtained the coveted Investors In People Gold award. That same department is now a finalist for the Gobal award.

      Any private sector company can boast such an achievement?

      • Anonymous says:

        PR poster

        Working for Franczie buy

        Your posts are very obvious!

      • Anonymous says:

        It’s ‘your’ civil service and “our” DG, but in “your” country a visit to a government department takes a whole day and applications take years. So which is it? Or are you saying a n application in Cayman takes years and a personal visit a day?

    • Anonymous says:

      Just look at the compass article which states that 84% of calls to the civil service was answered by the 4th ring. The press release also says that in July 2020 the civil service received 7,391 calls at its Call center with an average service level percentage of 97% percent.

      All of that sounds World Class to me.

      Stop the jealously and follow the civil service lead with remote working and exemplary customer service.

      • Anonymous says:

        Just loo at the Compass article – how about the bit in the AGs report that says 1 in 3 government emails go unanswered, or 15 out of 22 voicemail messages requesting a call back were never returned. That sound world class to you.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Civil Service and their fancy words and ideas. Road works have been going on in the Prospect area for months…i am by no means a Civil or Structural engineer, however, i have enough common sense to know that if “flowing water from a large diameter hose to a small diameter hose”, the end result will be an increase in pressure. The traffic coming from the eastern districts, now bottle necks at the one lane going to Bobby Thompsons road. The priority for road works should be to add an additional two lanes and widen the round-about leading to BT road, thereby allowing traffic to exit into the appropriate lane …whether they are going to the schools or heading into town. NOT quite sure of the reason for the revitalization of the Prospect area roads????

  8. Anonymous says:

    Good Lord! The man who promised to improve customer service in the Civil Service – and failed – has “one-upped” even his own failure!! I didn’t imagine that the Civil Service – all around – could get more inefficient, but here it is!!

  9. Anonymous says:

    CS are some of the rudest people I’ve ever had the displeasure of having to deal with. Half their jobs could be automated by 1 computer system that holds everyone’s information. But let’s be frank, most of them are unemployable and CIG can’t cut ties or else they’d have a shit storm of angry voters.

    • Anonymous says:

      8:35 rubbish.. I really think a 9 year old could replace you if that is your thought process.

  10. Anonymous says:

    How about private schools busing kids to school? My parents been paying towards Catholic School bus since 1997 and they still don’t have one smh.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Obviously all these posters trashing the civil service and puffing up by inference the private sector don’t bank at my banks, FCIB and Butterfield, or hold their insurance at Sagicor. These comments about civil service non responses to phones or emails are EXACTLY what I find about my banks and insurance company….and, by the way, I am supposed to be a special customer of the banks with a “relationship manager” to look after my needs. But getting her to respond to emails or phone calls is like getting teeth from hens….and I pay for it. So ease up on the civil service, the private sector is crap too.

    • Anonymous says:

      Bankers and insurance people are really just former or future Civil Servants

    • Anonymous says:

      The difference being that you have a choice in which private sector institutions you spend your money at. You can always tell FCIB that if they don’t improve their service you will take your business elsewhere, and if enough people do that your relationship manager is out of a job. CIG just takes your money and gives it to the CS irrespective of whether you need the service or not, and you do not have the ability to decline to pay the salaries of CS who don’t provide services you want or provide them efficiently.

      • Anonymous says:

        I’m not anon 7.39 but after trying for over three months to open an account with Butterfield for a small company that requires no overdraft or loans, I’m still nowhere near the end of the process. This despite a 15 year relationship with the bank. They really don’t give a flying fig if we move to another bank, they are all equally bad. I’d say CS is much better, you do have to endure rudeness and lack of response, but in all, things do get done which is certainly not the case with Butterfield.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I have been calling DVDL for a week, no one answers and the voicemail is full.

    • Anonymous says:

      6:50. Why are you calling DVDL. Go on their website all of your answers are right there.

      Come on be part of the solution

      • Anonymous says:

        Gee, thanks for your very helpful reply. I have renewed everything online but have not received anything by mail as was indicated.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Civil Service been working on flex time for at least the last 20 years.

  14. Anonymous says:

    HE can say anything …. the Chief Officers and the Department Heads don’t want workers who can work effectively from home to do so …they cant bully us or micoromanage us at home.

  15. Anonymous says:

    The private sector needs to step up to the plate and implement staggered work hours and meaningful remote working policies and practices.

    • Anonymous says:

      Already happening in many of the businesses. My employer is staying 100% remote until January 2021 at the earliest with nobody forced to return to work until July 2021.

      • Anonymous says:

        Meanwhile my employer demanded everyone returned to work as soon as the government gave the ok. No possibility for work from home.

      • Anonymous says:

        Smart move considering we really don’t know how long this is going to linger. Business continuity should be seamless in the advent of a second or more lockdown, rather than scrambling at the last minute and hoping for the best which seems to be CIG’s policy.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Great even less productivity from the CS. Evveryone should have this option not just the CS.

  17. KSS says:

    Like CS answer their phones or respond to emails anyway. Forget trying to contact anyone at ROC or L&S – you’re lucky if the voicemail box isn’t “full” and you can leave a message but you certainly won’t get a response! And this certainly isn’t new, ROC staff have just been getting slower and slower over the years.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Is he aware that 1 in 3 government emails unanswered…Those who did respond to the email….with an average response time of just over six 6️⃣hours….15 out of 22 voicemail messages requesting a call back were never returned.

    So much for “… outstanding support to ministers and our customers.”

  19. Anonymous says:

    When talking about the Civil Servants working from home, your headline picture of the person in the hammock says it all. Paid for it too!

  20. Anon. says:

    What I find with a lot of naysayers is that they usually have had a bad experience with one specific department or maybe even a few civil servants and because of that, they paint the entire civil service as lazy, incompetent or both, which is really not fair to the civil servants who go over and beyond and work dutifully every day.

    • Anonymous says:

      Thank you Anon! Glad someone said it!

    • Anonymous says:

      The problem is with consistently poor customer service across multiple departments and authorities. Calls and emails go unanswered. Inconsistent advice is given by people within the same depart or within different departments. Despite clearly completed forms or written instructions the wrong action is taken causing delays and financial loss. Should I go on?

    • Anonymous says:

      Ya got to ignore the bunch of nowhereams , sluggards, fools who come up with all the negativity.

    • Anonymous says:

      Anon @ 1.55 you are so correct. During the lockdown I have had to call airport post office, immigration,HSA appointments office, planning department, Fidelity, Cayman national, healthcare pharmacy at Grand Harbour. For some I got someone to answer the phone,directly, some I left a message and got a call back within the hour. I consider that to be very good. Public sector have many still working remotely, some will continue to do so for the foreseeable future and I haven’t heard any complaints about that. I expect no less from civil servants. Some refuse to even understand that civil servants are the engines that allow private sector to flourish. Civil servants have to deal with the entire island population as well as overseas demands whereas private sector, whatever their remit have a specific sector to deal with e.g. Doctors, dentists, insurance companies , banks, but civil servants also have all of the above mentioned as customers. Please be a little kinder, show some respect and treat them as you would like to be treated. Like everywhere they are not perfect but I have found that most that I have had to interact do a good job.

      • Anonymous says:

        Maybe the government should look to privatize as many services as possible.

      • Anonymous says:

        Somebody from FLOW called me the other day – I had left a message a month ago.
        Same with Pan American insurance – left message a month ago.
        Butterfield is on a work-slow mission as well.
        No apology, just ‘Oh we’re working from home now”.

    • Anonymous says:

      Anon you have restored my faith in humanity.

      Finally a sensible comment. Meanwhile I just renewed by Trade and business license online in 10min. While waiting two days for my bank to process a wire transfer.

      Sorry Civil Service haters you need to face the facts the civil service has now surpassed the private sector in customer service.

      • Anonymous says:

        You were lucky. My online T+B renewal took 3 months to come through and there were no “issues” as to why it was delayed that much. Every year, I do it online and it only took a few fays…this time I almost forgot about it and gave up when it finally got emailed.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Well at least CS won’t need to even pretend to be working anymore.

  22. Anonymous says:

    You need to look at people dropping off and picking up children at school. The simple solution is to have all the schools start and finish times staggered by 45 minutes each. Juts take a drive past Prospect Primary School at 3 pm and you will see cars backed up to town and the road circle completely blocked by individuals simply picking up their kids. It doesn’t matter how many lanes there are.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Still waiting on $$/checks from the US from the post office. Anyone know when this will be back up and running?

    • Anonymous says:

      When Biden gets in

    • Anonymous says:

      12:05 get it in your head the post office didn’t create this problem. They can’t deliver mail they haven’t received.

      But don’t worry CIG has struck a deal with the Americans to allow CAL to bring in the oversees mail

  24. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Manderson, you are allowing a few antiquated, nonprogressive leaders to thwart this vision since you announced this measure during the lockdown. Very little has been implemented and congestion and stress levels are back worse than before. Micromanagement is the problem here so you need to look within your world-class civil service and identify these radicals and deal with them accordingly. The civil servants are behind you with this initiative, some civil service bosses are not.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes. Unfortunately the ‘vibe’ you get from these new policies is a shift from ‘work from home to get the work done’ to ‘forget productivity its all about locality’.

    • Anonymous says:

      Please define what you mean by “world-class civil service”.

      My experience has been that our CS is a bloated, inefficient employer of last resort. It functions as an undeclared welfare system to those who know someone at CIG that can get them a job.

      Our standards should not be so low that we just accept this colossal waste of our time and money.

  25. CSkivers says:

    Meanwhile doing business with the CS just gets worse. No one answers the phones or emails so you still have to make a special trip, or multiple trips to a CS office to hopefully resolve issues. Who is monitoring CS productivity and performance indicators? This is an ongoing opportunity for further CS slackness.

    • Anonymous says:

      THIS! One million times over. They’re not held accountable for their performance by any of their superiors and it shows. Planning Dept are some of the worst offenders.

      • Anonymous says:

        Planning and the BCU are some of the worst offenders. There needs to be an outside entity brought in to do a complete process reengineering exercise and to restructure the operations and personnel.

        • Anonymous says:

          This was actually underway until bureaucracy and self servitude struck again. The name John England ring a bell?

  26. Anonymous says:

    the cs barely work in office…what do you think they will be doing at home?

    hey franz go read miller shaw and e&y reports if you want some real recommendations.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Flexible work has been a blessing to our team’s morale. We’re able to get to our kids in time now and hit the shop before traffic.

    Why sit around for a whole hour on lunch if you brought food and only need 15 mins to eat? Why not accomplish that extra task today instead of leaving it for another day then take back the extra hour on a day you have an appointment?

    We simply send emails to our team when coming and going for transparency if managers need a simple time-keeping solution.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Guess the post office closing again soon then.

    • Anonymous says:

      What is the public sector doing about it? Forcing all staff to come back to work. If you have staff that need to be managed then let them come in, but surely there must be staff that can work from home, especially in the paper pushing law firms, accounting firms and other financial service businesses.

      • Anonymous says:

        The public sector IS doung things about it. My partners company has implemented a system where staff only need to be in office minimum of 33% of their work week…this covers meetings and on site things. The rest of the time he gets to work better at home with less distraction.

      • Anonymous says:

        The big bosses don’t like to be the only persons that have to come in, so they force the rest to come in along with them. You can magically change the “stupid” culture in some places. Especially local Banks.

      • Anonymous says:

        You surely meant private sector.

    • Anonymous says:

      When did they open?

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