The management, Fellows and Researchers Council (FRC) and staff of SDPI are among the first who have gone digital with the covid19 lockdown and closer of the physical office. They have been having their meetings, webinars and official communication through the digital platforms. After two months of work from home experience and looking ahead the continued covid19 risks, the management and FRC of the SDPI have decided to continue in a digital format. Now SDPI has fully adapted to virtual office mode. All staff members virtually attend office (from 10:00 AM to 06:00 PM) and keep going with their work while observing the following guideline:
- GoToMeeting link to virtual office remains open since 09:30 onwards. All staff join the office link through their laptops.
- They keep microphone and camera off until any one needs to join internal meetings and they keep on communicating through their emails as and when needed.
- The staff maintains a good Internet connectivity to keep connected to virtual office.
- Each staff takes an hour out for lunch break during the duty hours (from 10am to 6pm). The time log for each staff member is being created by the software. However, staff through HR and/or relevant supervisor to have any other arrangement regarding the duty hours and; if they need to leave the virtual office for some other commitments. Before leaving the virtual office during working hours, staff members are required to leave a message on chat box.
- For online IT support, MIS team remain available.
- The staff is required to keep their cameras switched on during internal meetings such as Staff Council, FRC, and any other internal meeting during the office hours.
- For sub group meetings required by staff of various department, they may contact MIS to arrange the required meeting’s link for the required online platforms such as Zoom, GoToMeetings, and any other.
Availability of SDPI staff for outside development/alliance partners
All SDPI relevant staff is available to external/outside development and alliance partners, donor agencies, government ministries/departments, Universities, overseas partners, contractors, vendors and other relevant audience digitally as they used to be available physically. All external audience may connect SDPI relevant staff through email and telephone and we would be happy to serve our external partners and audiences of diverse nature. SDPI staff may be invited to digital/online meetings by external partners as usual for our staff input. SDPI amid covid19 new normal has adapted to new ways of working.
Ways of working amid covid19 new normal
We welcome our donors, development partners to keep contacting SDPI via digital platforms and we will keep sending them innovative ideas to work on as response to the covid19. In our recent future plans, we have adapted to undertake our research, policy advocacy and capacity development work through digital platforms for the forthcoming next 6 months until November 2020. We may enter into a hybrid way of working- mix of digital and physical availability for internal and external meetings and work assignments.
Our forthcoming 23rd annual flagship ‘Sustainable Development Conference’ will be on the hybrid model. Our foreign speakers/scholars may join us over digital platform while national and local speakers and audience may join in person for some of the sessions. Similarly, we may have some sessions on digital platform and some with in person audience.
SDPI has sent a number of new project proposals to donors/development partners with a work plan to complete work assignment through hybrid model- for the forthcoming 6 months, we may largely organize our work through using digital platforms and in later part of the project, we may use in person formats of working.
Responding to the COVID19 pandemic, SDPI is using hybrid model of data collection- online and in person. For door to door poverty assessment survey under National Socio-economic Registry of Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP), SDPI in 21 districts of Central and South Punjab has provided its field researchers Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) and COVID19 guidelines and a tablet device installed with customized data collection survey tool. This device is connected online to national server of BISP. Once a data form is completed at a door step of a household, it is then and there submitted directed online to the BISP server. Thousands of trained field staff observes COVID19 SoPs and protocols for an online survey which is executed through physical presence.
Moreover, SDPI collects data for its research studies (quantitative and qualitative or by using mixed methods approach) by using various customized online data collection tools/survey designs (using telephone, mobile phone’s SMS services and other digital platforms connecting through Internet which include: WhatsApp, Zoom, Google Meet, GoToMeetings, Microsoft Teams, and online survey methods and tools through multiple software with customization). SDPI connects respondents and key informants and hold Focus Group Discussion by using from above and other available online platforms and in some cases in person too by observing social distancing and other COVID19 guidelines.
We collect data to get the real information; we gather, store and access data for our analyses. To collect qualitative information for our research, we conduct interviews, focus group discussion and analyze the documents by using one or multiples platforms as mentioned above while to get quantitative information, we design surveys through customized data collection software and analyze primary data available online or through retrieving from physical archives. SDPI uses various strategies to get data which include: developing case studies, data checklists and observatory by researchers and conducting interviews of key informants and focus group discussions (FGDs) and analyzing the documents relevant to our studies such as policy, procedures, reports, and other key documents leading to developing evidence for our studies and later on for evidence based advocacy. We also develop questionnaires leading to data collection.
Before the COVID19 pandemic hit, SDPI has been using the hybrid model of data collection in its poverty assessment survey and has amassed experience on submitting online responses to survey designs; now in the Post or with COVID19 new normal, SDPI has made working online a routine for its data collection and all other activities and functions including setting up a virtual office. We are strengthening our internal capacities so that we can best utilize the online platforms for SDPI’s research, advocacy and capacity and learning development work in a smooth manner.