As some departments continue to move ahead with forcing public servants back into the physical workplace, support for the open letter written by public servants against imposed hybrid return to workplace arrangements has surpassed ten thousand signatures.
The campaign “GoC Together” was launched only several weeks ago, continues to gain momentum and also recently launched a Twitter account @GoCTogether to keep followers updated on the progress of its campaign.
So far, there has been no response to the letter from any senior leader in the public service, including the Clerk.
Public servants and the media have been largely attributing the Clerk as the reason for the imposed hybrid return to replace arrangements, as the Clerk asked deputy heads to experiment with hybrid scenarios earlier this summer so they could be implemented in the fall.
Clerk’s annual report on the public service
The Clerk recently released their annual report on the public service, which highlights accomplishments across the public service over the past year, including challenges and a vision for the future.
In it, the Clerk did reference hybrid work stating, “By building on what we learned during the pandemic and blending the best of our traditions with emerging approaches, including a combination of in-person and remote work, we will create a new hybrid workplace that delivers the best results for Canadians.”
However the Clerk also concluding the report by saying, “it would be a missed opportunity if we went back to the way things were in 2019.”
Many public servants have been asking the Clerk to clarify their direction to deputies around return to workplace from earlier this summer, as public servants have been finding the Clerk’s messaging contradictory and deputies have been interpreting the Clerk’s direction that they must get public servants back into the physical workplace as soon as possible with imposed hybrid arrangements.
Training for EXs on hybrid work and teams
Meanwhile, APEX (the Association of Professional Executives of the Public Service of Canada) is offering training for executives on hybrid work and teams this fall. The sessions are:
- Hybrid work is the future of work (September 21, 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. EST)
- Thriving in remote and hybrid teams (September 28, 1:30 p.m. – 2:45 p.m. EST)
- Leading in a hybrid workplace (October 5, 1:30 p.m. – 2:45 p.m. EST)
- Everyday resiliency in ever-changing times (October 26, 1:30 p.m. – 2:45 p.m. EST)
Heritage’s video on hybrid work spaces
A video by the department of Canadian Heritage about hybrid work spaces was recently making the rounds online:
The TikTok style video titled, “Hot Tip Tuesday: Exploring hybrid work spaces – part 1” featured public servants dancing awkwardly in the workplace to music and swirling chairs around in boardrooms with strobe party lights.
Public servants on social media were generally critical of the video and commented that it was out of touch and did not take the concerns that public servants have about their health and safety, seriously.
The video was uploaded in June and has since received over 3,000 views.
Treasury Board suspends reporting COVID-19 cases
Earlier this month, Treasury Board confirmed that as of June 22, 2022, it was suspending its reporting of COVID-19 cases within the federal public service.
Reaction from public servants online was that of frustration and concern for health and safety, given that many are being forced back into the physical workplace during cold and flu season and there will no longer be any reporting of cases.
The final total amount of reported COVID-19 cases across the public service was 32,474 since reporting began with the disclaimer that, “the total number of cases may not reflect an accurate count due to the lack of availability of tests.”