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WFH beyond the pandemic: Australians seek more family time with remote work

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Australians seek more family time with remote work. aifs.gov.au
Australians seek more family time with remote work. aifs.gov.au

As the pandemic-driven remote work era unfolds, Australians are increasingly demanding the option to work from home (WFH) become a permanent fixture in their lives. 

Beyond the convenience and flexibility of remote work, many employees see it as a golden opportunity to spend more quality time with their families.

Nicholas Coomber, a drone operator working for a Melbourne property surveyor, expressed his desire for WFH to continue beyond the pandemic. “You get more family time. You can actually finish work at five, rather than finishing at five spending 45 minutes trying to get home,” he said. Like many others, he cherishes the precious moments he gains by not having to commute to the office every day.

Australian unions are taking up the cause and are fighting back against corporate leaders’ calls to return to the traditional office setup. They are pressing for WFH to become the norm, citing the positive impact on employees’ work-life balance. “All the deep changes in the Australian labour market have come out of crises. When you have a jolt, you never return to the way the world was,” says John Buchanan, head of the University of Sydney’s Health and Work Research Network.

The trend is not limited to one sector or industry. Employees across various fields are voicing their desire for remote work to be a permanent arrangement. Melissa Donnelly, the Community and Public Sector Union secretary, highlights how WFH has transformed the possibilities for working arrangements. “What was possible around working from home has absolutely been transformed. This is what this deal achieves. It will have a flow-on effect across different industries,” she adds.

Amid this historic confrontation between employers and employees, the WFH movement represents a significant shift in the Australian labor landscape. While employers claim that flexible working arrangements were already in place, workers argue that WFH provides them with more control over their time, enabling them to balance personal and professional commitments better.

As WFH continues to gain momentum, it reshapes the traditional concept of office attendance and sets the stage for a new era of work-life integration. The debate over the future of work in Australia hinges on whether employers will embrace this paradigm shift or push for a return to the old ways. As the world watches, Australians remain steadfast in their quest for more family time and a permanent WFH option.

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