Working from Home During a Pandemic

Working from home expanded rapidly during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic as employees were compelled to leave their workplaces to meet social distancing requirements. The aim of this project is to examine how public sector employees worked from home during the coronavirus pandemic and identify changed workplace practices, which may become embedded in organisations.  

The following research questions will be addressed using data based on a survey of Australian Public Service employees: 

  1. How did working from home change relationships between employers, managers, and teams, in terms of factors such as trust, communication and performance?  
  2. What processes did managers implement to facilitate this way of working? How did increased working from home change how work was undertaken?  
  3. How did working from home impact on work/family conflict? How did it differ for men/women/non-binary employees, and across different occupations? 

The ways working at home impacts on individual workers, organisations, and gender equality outcomes has long been contested. The study will generate and disseminate globally significant knowledge about the ways managers and employees worked from home, and how arrangements shaped perceptions of performance, communication, working relationships, employee resilience, work-life balance, and gender equality. Findings will provide an evidence base for increasing organisational capability and will enable policy makers and advocates to promote new approaches to supporting productive workplaces, meeting employee needs, promoting work-life balance, and progressing workplace gender equality after the pandemic.  

This study will lead to the development of resources for organisations, managers and employees, to support productivity, resilience and wellbeing. The results will also inform approaches to decrease work/family conflict, which can progress gender equality. The extensive and mandated uptake of working from home globally may become embedded after the pandemic, making new knowledge on the topic significant and timely.  

Community and Public Sector Union 

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