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Western Railway’s Experiment With Staggered Office Hours Is Failing

Western Railway’s Experiment With Staggered Office Hours Is Failing

Western Railway (WR) started staggered office hours for its Mumbai division employees on September 28, becoming the first government agency to do so. Under this, employees were given the choice to report at either of the two timings - 8 AM to 2 PM or 2 PM to 8 PM. 

However, authorities said that more than two months after the move was introduced, employees continue to report between 9 AM to 10:30 PM. Officials added that only around 3 to 5% of the 22,000 WR employees in the Mumbai division report for work at 2 PM in adherence to the staggered timings policy. 

Also readWestern Railways To Start Staggered Office Timings From Today

Staggered timings for employees were pitched by several private companies as well, though adherence was expectedly stricter as compared to the government sector. Explaining the course of WR’s staggered timings, Divisional Railway Manager (Mumbai) at Western Railway, GVL Satyakumar said - “The staggered office work hours were moderately successful. But eventually everyone wanted to get back home at the same time every evening. Something like this will have to be an order for it to be successful.”

Other officials said that stricter guidelines or even a court order could be beneficial in getting this policy to work. Staggered timings were introduced to avoid overpopulating office spaces amidst a pandemic. 

Speaking to Mirror Now, some WR staffers explained that despite the announcement of staggered timings, those who commence work at 8 AM were unable to leave even after 2 PM due to the slow clearing of files, adding that they would leave between 4 to 5 PM on “most days”. Additionally, employees who have chosen to start working at 2 PM could barely start on time given that the staff from the previous shift would still be waiting for the files to clear. 

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It is worth pointing out that WR opened new offices at Virar so that employees living in the suburbs didn’t have to take the time to travel all the way to Mumbai Central. However, some employees said that this didn’t solve the problem as they found themselves making the trip to Mumbai Central anyway for file signings or meetings.

CEO of Lodestar UM, Nandini Dias, who started an initiative known as WorkToLiveToWork remains optimistic about staggered timings for office spaces. “It will take time to adjust to a new way of working. I urge companies and the government to work out a process and not abandon it because of some people who are only thinking about themselves. Our city has unlimited possibilities but limited space. Our roads can’t get broader, our trains cannot get roomier. We need to space out our work shifts so that we can maintain social distancing,” Dias said. 

Also readBMC Plans To Stagger Office Timings To Reduce Overcrowding In Locals

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