A Proposed Point System for Government WFH

Published on 2024-05-01 by Stuart Spence

This page describes a point system where public servants and their managers can autonomously identify what their minimum work-from-home (WFH) day count should be.


Some politicans are more transparent than others about why return-to-office (RTO) is so important to them:

"Three days is a good start," Ford said, reacting to the news. "When you're coming here, go out for lunch, maybe go into a store, pick something up, go to the mall — that's what we need, that's what stirs the economy." [CBC]

To some, coercing public servants to stimulate the economy is a good use of our dedication and skills.

That's why I'm not sure this proposal will realistically happen but I'd love to see our unions rally around a smart concrete proposal like this.

The Point System

All public servants with remote-compatible jobs start at 3 days minimum in-office. However this number can go down:

  1. minus 1: you are diagnosed with a medical condition from a long list like: back pain disk hernia, autism, social anxiety, scent sensitivity, depression.
  2. minus 1: you have no permanently assigned workspace in-office (a desk, seat, keyboard that only you use)
  3. minus 1: the average cost of rent within 40km from your worksite is greater than the recommended 30% of your take home salary.
  4. minus 1: anything from #1 is diagnosed as severe.

If you provide adequate proof to your manager (medical note, cost of rent stats) they can make a judgment call that you meet the criteria.

Multiple very different items from the medical condition list should count as multiple points.

If you are full remote but circumstances change and your in-office days increase from 0, you get 1 year notice.


Importantly, no factor can be controlled by the employee. Nobody can make life choices to obtain more points.

This point system creates good incentives. If the employer wants more in-office presence, they need to provide dedicated workspaces and decentralize their locations so that youth and young families can afford to live closer to work. Or open up smaller offices in smaller towns. This point system encourages this in a simple and measurable way.

It also gives caring managers a simple way to provide some medical accommodation without involving tons of process and paperwork.

Finally, this doesn't replace existing accommodations and processes. It's just a simple additional system that should provide some relief for almost all RTO concerns. This relieves pressure on the more formal processes too, for cases that are more advanced or contested.

Thanks for reading!

See Also