Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has made a grim prediction that office life may never return back to the way it was before the coronavirus pandemic.
“The reason you have to work from home if it’s still possible for you is that this is fragile,” he said in a Friday morning press conference.
“This is not over, the active assumption has got to be that there is still virus out there.
“If we’re talking about shared spaces lift wells, tea rooms, all manner of different practical things, it makes the office environment much like the home environment.
“We’ll get people back to the office as soon as we can, not just in the city but suburbs too, but it has to be done safely.”
Andrews told reporters he had been in discussions with CEOS of major companies who had been surveying their workforces.
“I do want to make a point, and I take no joy out of this, for the cafes and restaurants and others who want as much foot traffic as they can… I don’t think we’re going back to 100 per cent of people at their desks 9 to 5 and that won’t be a function of rules, that’ll be a function of the choices people will make having spent the best part of a year working from home,” Andrews said.
“I think the notion of people spending every hour where they used to work, that is gone.
“I think many people see time with family, on car, public transport, it works for people – not everybody, every day.
“That just means we will have to work even harder around major events, and make sure those businesses, who are a big part of our story, we just have to make sure we support them in lots of innovative ways.”