Yesterday, while listening to Haiti news updates on the BBC, I caught part of an interview with the Ghanaian Deputy Minister for Information Mr. Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwah about the latest Presidential directive to ban television sets from government offices .The aim of the directive is to increase productivity among government workers putting them on par with their private sector counterparts.
I was particularly delighted to hear about the television-off initiative. After all, how many times have I gone to a government office to find civil servants completely entranced by a tepid plot involving Desmond Elliot/Ramsey Nouah/Emeka Ike desperately trying to woo Mercy Johnson/Stephanie Okereke/Genevieve Nnaiji ?
The expectation appears to be that as soon as the last television is switched off, workers nation-wide will suddenly exclaim:
A. "What? No more Juana la Virgen rerun reruns to enjoy? Well I guess I will just get to that pile of documents I have to review for urgent action right away!"
B. "No more riveting Naija movies to relish? Why don't we work on those reports so that the school contracts can be awarded next week?"
According to the government, there is a thin line dividing productivity between government and private sector workers. On this line appears to lie a television set. What I'm wondering about is whether the government has done a survey to explore factors leading to the purported low work-output among civil servants. Aside from television sets have they also taken into consideration ways to increase productivity such as:
- Better remuneration/incentive packages
- Turning off radios/banning newspapers/banning discussions
- Inflexible goal-oriented approaches
- Strict structured supervision
- Shorter lunches
- Avoiding workers going out on errands that take all day
- Lighter lunches (I rambled on about this in one of my earliest posts!)
Post-lunch siesta in an office without televisions!
The list is endless but then again I'm also guilty of talking without supporting evidence from a study! In the meantime, the televisions will go off and we are all waiting patiently to see if there are any resultant 'productive worker' effects.