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Sydney and Melbourne office workers slowly returning

Melburnians are returning to CBD workplaces faster than Sydneysiders as the country emerges from lockdowns ahead of Christmas and companies plan bigger returns next year.


Laura Applebee-Jones, a partner with management consultancy firm Fifth Frame, said employers were mainly looking to have staff back in the office from February, with about 30 per cent of employees currently back in offices.

Companies were looking at a roughly 60-40 split between working from home and the office, she said, which equates to two to three days per week in the office,

Ms Applebee-Jones said employers planned to use the three to six months after February’s return to the office to finetune their expectations and policies.

“They’re also steering away from mandates [to return to the office],” Ms Applebee-Jones said. “They’re seen to not have always been received positively and staff autonomy and choice is important.”

She said the office would be pitched as a place for collaborating and connecting with colleagues, as well as a place for junior staff to pick up more on-the-job training.

“Organisations need to think about why people are coming back to the workplace, not just assume people will come back and do the same work they were doing from home at a desk again,” Ms Applebee-Jones said.


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