Working from Home

COVID-19 necessitated a rapid change in working arrangements...

The COVID-19 crisis necessitated a rapid change in working arrangements, and across the Australian workforce, employers were able to facilitate their employees working from home on a previously unimagined scale.

Working During the Pandemic

The CPSU recently collaborated with researchers Associate Professor Linda Colley, CQUniversity, and Dr Sue Williamson, UNSW Canberra, to undertake a research project, Working During the Pandemic, to gather data about the experience of public sector employees working during the COVID-19 crisis. Over 6000 employees from across the APS, NTPS and ACT Government participated in the project - 95% of responses were from the federal public sector.

The survey shows that only 31% of respondents had accessed the option to work from home prior to the pandemic. For lower level APS employees, fewer than 15% of respondents had accessed working from home pre-pandemic. The officially reported figure had 57% of APS staff working from home at the time the survey was taken. That figure has since risen to 64%, as reported on 11 August 2020. This dramatic shift to home-based work enabled the APS to continue to operate effectively and meet the challenges of the pandemic for the Australian community. The effectiveness of this transformation provides an opportunity to consider future directions and increased access to work from home arrangements

The future of working from home

The results from the survey confirm what CPSU members have been saying - employees should have continued access to working from home, and there are real benefits for employees and for agencies.

If the benefits of changes from the last few months are not going to be lost, agencies need to move now to agree to better and ongoing work from home policies and practices.

Members and delegates are looking for agreed policies that really provide the right culture, mechanisms and practices to support employees and supervisors to facilitate WFH arrangements. Let us know your level of support for the CPSU Working From Home principles by taking our snap poll

How does your agency's WFH policy stack up? 

DESE - Department of Education, Skills and Employment
DFAT - Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
DSS - Department of Social Services
Industry - Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources
Infrastructure - Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development & Communications
IP Australia
NAA - National Archives of Australia
PM&C - Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
Treasury - Department of the Treasury