Getting to Work

While the decision of the Nagaland Government—to declare all the Saturdays of the months as Regular Holidays with effect from January 1, 2006—may have brought cheer to the government employees, going by the two months of experience the other part of the bargain of demanding more sincerity from the employees has not been forthcoming. The government instead of accepting employee absence passively should work out a formulation to strictly enforce the concept of No Work No Pay if it is sincere in going ahead with this novel idea or else, the government may well abandon the 5-days working formula.   And going by the statement of outgoing Chief Secretary P. Talitemjen Ao, if the trend of poor attendance in offices continues, the government may be compelled to roll back to the earlier system of observing only second and fourth Saturdays as holidays. It is obvious that this new work schedule is turning out to be an embarrassment for the Government and unless each office or department find ways to improve employees’ attendance, the declaration of all Saturdays as holidays will become meaningless. 

In a poll earlier conducted by The Morung Express, a person gave the opinion that the State has no infrastructure to improve one’s skills and that only few departments are sincerely working manually, so having a Saturday as weekend holidays will not make much difference. The suggestion was to let employees come on working days regularly, till than let the departments get a new organized system for work. So besides enforcing a No Work No Pay system, the Chief Secretary’s Office can also work on other approaches such as in creating an organizational culture where employees feel engaged and are committed, which is known to directly result in reduced absence. The main driving force of this staff engagement has been identified as good management which is the key to staff feeling valued and involved. In this sense, the higher rank officials in the various departments would themselves have to under go a process of change that allows them to be better managers of their respective office and the staff working under them. 

One specific measure that can be taken to encourage attendance and reduce absence is to financially reward employees with good attendance records by way of giving them bonuses and likewise penalize those who are insincere at work by cutting their pay through the implementation of No Work No Pay. The amount thus collected can be routed as bonus to those who are regular. Or if the government feels that such an approach is not suitable, then the senior officials can at least recognize good individual attendance by writing personal letters or making a mention of it publicly during formal briefings or through the DIPR information capsule.  In a State where unemployment is high, government employees are indeed a privileged lot. Yet, they remain insincere to their work and seem to be interested only in periodically seeking still higher pay and perks despite the fact that their productivity, especially when measured in terms of public satisfaction with their work, continues to be miserably low. This deteriorating work ethics should be a cause for serious concern. When one is doing a service for the people and getting paid for it, getting to work is a legitimate responsibility and a call of Duty as much as getting employed and being paid remains a matter of Right.