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An Empirical Study on Civil Service Assessment of Working from Home during COVID-19 Outbreak

An Empirical Study on Civil Service Assessment of Working from Home during COVID-19 Outbreak

Chun-Ta Lee, Wen-Tsan Lin


In the wake of the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic in Dec. 2019, work-from-home (WFH) has become a common practice in order to reduce employees’ risk of infection while commuting to and from workplaces. Accordingly, amid the rampant pandemic in mid-2021, the Directorate General of Personnel Administration under the Executive Yuan announced raising the share of government employees going to office for work on a rotational basis to one half of the workforce, from one third. In Feb. 2021, a ministry of central government unveiled “Work-From-Home Trial Plan” for the civil service, which was put into practice during the peak of the pandemic in May-July that year. This study carried out a questionnaire survey of civil service members on their change of attitudes towards the work practice before and after its implementation. The results show the need for civil service members to strengthen the capabilities of time management, communications skill, sense of responsibility, dedication and loyalty, digital literacy, and independent working. With the advent of the digitalization era, the public sector should plan WFH as an alternative work type and cultivate an organizational culture that stresses trust and performance in its human-resources management strategy, thereby giving public functionaries more flexibility in choosing worksites and meeting family needs. The study provides the following three recommendations. First, the extension work cost of WFH should be borne by the organization, and a one-time fixed amount of allowance can be considered in the future implementation. Second, WFH guidelines should include the interpersonal network and organizational commitment of employees. Organization leaders should understand the psychological needs of their colleagues during WFH, and improve employee assistance programs. Finally, in response to the trend and development of WFH, public servants should continue to be trained on digital competence.

Keywords: telework, telecommuting, working from home, COVID-19, digital governance