DAWE has introduced a new “Flexible Seating Project". Whatever the terminology, it will mean that many workers will not have their own desk.

Union delegates recently met with DAWE management to clarify the current pilot program and what is proposed for seating arrangements going forward.

DAWE management advised CPSU delegates that:

  • The timeline for consultation and fitout will be complete by the end of 2021
  • A consultation timetable and communication to all ACT DAWE workers will be provided soon
  • A Risk Assessment has been completed and provided to Health and Safety Reps (HSRs) who will have the opportunity to be involved in consultation
  • Staff can be involved in consultation at various stages and can provide feedback via digital tools; Sub-Consultative Committee; Working Group; Reference Group; formal and informal feedback to Division SES
  • Seating plans will be negotiated and agreed, most likely at the business line or Branch level (“neighbourhoods”)
  • The proposed outsourced booking system is aimed to ensure equity and not disadvantage workers – i.e. not be first in, best dressed. It will have the capacity to look different for each branch/section
  • The seating plan and booking system can be adjusted along the way

Delegates raised the following concerns:

  • “Consultation” at present mainly seems to involve SES. Some divisions have been briefed, but worryingly, little or no details have been provided to workers so far, nor any opportunity afforded to them to have a say. It is a basic right for all workers to be properly consulted on matters affecting their work before changes are agreed.
  • At least $500,000 is already being spent on outsourcing for consultants, project managers, ICT including a booking system, and procurement of furniture and lockers. There seems to have been no assessment for this to be done in-house by DAWE.
  • It is unfair that SES will not be affected by this project. Their offices should be available to workers as meeting spaces or for quiet work when SES work from home.
  • This project is being done before fitting out and moving into CQ2 in 2022 which is an inefficient, wasteful use of taxpayer funds.
  • There are obvious safety concerns about hot desking or even sharing a desk, particularly in the middle of a pandemic.

Delegates sought ongoing meetings with management and it has agreed.

We want your feedback. Do you feel safe hot desking? Have you been consulted by DAWE about the new “Flexible Seating Project”? Complete the DAWE Survey here

All responses to our survey will be kept anonymous and in confidence.

What is the CPSU’s position on office desks and seating?

The CPSU supports arrangements as follows:

  • Every worker has their own desk OR
  • by agreement of workers and with all COVID-safe measures in place, desk sharing with one other colleague where they are both part time or are working from home part of each week 
  • Hardware and belongings remain at a desk for the majority of the time
  • each worker has a space that can be personalised
  • this model provides consistency for workers and is more efficient and productive

The CPSU does not support “hot desking”, “activity-based work”, etc because:

  • no worker has a desk of their own or shares a desk with one other colleague
  • the desk needs to be set up at the beginning of each day and packed up at the end of the day hardware, belongings must be stored in a locker.
  • this model is inefficient and takes time away from work therefore reduces productivity
  • a worker’s desk is not consistent and cannot be personalised
  • this model can be detrimental to the mental health of workers

Complete the DAWE Survey

If you have concerns about your safety at work, please contact one of your local workplace delegates. Members can also contact the Member Service Centre on 1300 137 636 or [email protected] or local field organiser Cathy Smith [email protected]. If you are not yet a member of the CPSU, become a member today. We are stronger together!

CPSU Delegates

John Gorton Building:

Alistair Cockburn [email protected] Workplace Delegate
Simon Coulson [email protected] Section Councillor, Workplace Delegate
Tess Corkish [email protected] Workplace Delegate
Will Barrett [email protected] Workplace Delegate
Katie Ball [email protected] Workplace Delegate
Cassi Elliot [email protected] Workplace Delegate

18 Marcus Clarke Street:

Damien Bond [email protected] Section Councillor, Workplace Delegate, Health & Safety Representative
Ros Harper [email protected] Workplace Delegate
Milena Rafic [email protected] Deputy Delegate
Hudson Burns [email protected] Workplace Delegate
Katrina Bourke [email protected] Workplace Delegate
Connie Woolnough [email protected] Workplace Delegate
Tim Seguna [email protected] Workplace Delegate

7 London Circuit:

Ian McWhirter [email protected] Workplace Delegate
Justin McCauley [email protected] Workplace Delegate