Skip to content

Three things we learned about working from home in 2020

15 December 2020

News and media


work from home with cat


Working from home became the new normal for many workers in 2020 including the majority of the public sector. For many industries, this was a big shift, both for the individual and for organisations.

While working from home will become less prevalent as the pandemic eases, it is likely that many organisations will shift towards a hybrid model, with a greater emphasis on flexibility of working hours and locations.

Getting the balance right when working from home has been an important topic this year as evidenced by the following three articles on working from home which were some of the most popular articles on the ANZSOG website. They are especially helpful for managers who have had to run teams from home for the first time while dealing with the added challenge of staff wellbeing during a pandemic.

Working from home: seven steps to leading an effective team

Many people worked from home for the first time during the COVID-19 lockdown, and in some cities this lasted for several months. Running a team under normal conditions requires specific skills, and all of these had to be adapted for the new ‘COVID normal’.

This article is a guide for managing teams from home, including what to expect, how to build trust and accountability, how to communicate, and how to set meetings effectively. The COVID period may last some time, and even when it’s over working patterns and behaviours may change in the long term. If working from home is managed well, these changes can be for the better.

Read more here

Six ways to make working from home work for you

Working from home has been a challenge. Work/life balance had to be reset and even on a good day there is still uncertainty about the global COVID crisis, how long it will last and what the long-term impacts might be.

It’s important for personal health and wellbeing to find ways to work from home. This might mean creating a good office environment, scheduling breaks and using the extra time you’ve gained from axing the commute to work. On tough days, keep communicating to manage uncertainty and if you need to seek help to maintain your mental health, then you should not hesitate.

This article is a guide for employees and employer to keep everyone working from home safe and happy.

Read more here

Reducing the psychological impact of quarantine: A guide for managers

By Patrick Lucas (ANZSOG)

The impacts of quarantine can be wide-ranging and long-lasting, and force changes to your work routine. People understand the need to maintain public health during quarantine, but require support and encouragement from managers to stay well in lockdown. Quarantine is different from isolation: quarantine separates and restricts people’s movement before they have a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis, while isolation separates people with a diagnosis to protect others from the spread.

Managers needed to remember that each person’s quarantine conditions were different. Some have difficult familial and financial constraints, and others needed extra help to manage their mental health. Public health officials are told that information and communication are key, that people need good resources (both physical and emotional) to stay at home, and that quarantines should be short and framed as altruistic.

This article takes research from public health management and makes it accessible to managers who had staff in quarantine during the height of the pandemic with lessons that are still relevant as we move into the recovery phase.

Read more here

Keep up to date with news, research and events relevant to the public sector by subscribing to our fortnightly enews.

Read more #BestofANZSOG2020 articles:

Five things we learned about crisis leadership during COVID-19
Five public administration lessons from 2020
Five things we learned in 2020 about mega-crises, wicked problems, and the VUCA world
Six things COVID-19 taught us about regulation and why people comply
Four lessons from 2020 policy makers need to learn
Five thought-provoking articles from 2020 for public sector leaders