Australian Government,  Blog post,  Leadership

What has COVID changed about how you work?

As we see the light at the end of the COVID tunnel in Australia, many people are reflecting on what we have learnt during this weird period of our lives about how we work.

The way we work has changed. Many of us are working in home offices, on dining tables, kitchen benches or in our case on an old outdoor table. We are doing Zoom meetings, Microsoft Team meetings, and virtual catch-ups. We are spending more time on our phone than ever before. We no longer have face-to-face team meetings but daily check-ins.

For a lot of public servants, this was a new experience, consistently working from home for an extended period. I know many miss the comradery of seeing their colleagues, miss morning coffee runs and the chit chat of the office. For others, the quiet, solitude and lack of interruptions meant they were more productive.

What did you learn from your time working from home?

Now is a great time to reflect on the good and the bad aspects of this new way of working. It is broadly expected that staff will go back to the office with different expectations about how they work.

For many, it has shown they can work from home successfully, and they are looking to implement that into their normal working life.

For others, this time highlighted the importance of the social aspect of work, and they are more committed than ever to engaging with their team and implementing more social activities into the office.

In some organisations, video conferencing and webinars were not considered the norm before COVID, but technology has been rapidly implemented and shown its value. This potentially changes the way we engage internally and externally.

How can you change?

You don’t need to go back to the way you worked before. If you are thinking about making some changes, do it now before you lose momentum.

The first step is to talk to your boss about your experience during COVID and why you would like to make some changes. You may have to have a few options available – trial periods, testing some options before finding one that works for everyone.

There is no right or wrong answer here. You won’t necessarily get everything you want. Your arrangement will have to suit your boss, your team, your work priorities. But it’s worth asking, right?

Maybe it’s something you can implement on your own. Purposefully going outside for a lunch break when you used to stay in the office. Exercising in the morning and going to work later. If you found something new in your routine that you liked, try to keep it going when you get back to the office.

I would love to hear about your good and bad experiences of working from home. What are you going to change?

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