(Image: Gorkie/Private Media)

Due to the latest outbreaks of COVID-19, millions of workers are temporarily back to working from home (WFH). But should they — and all of us — have WFH as a permanent option?

The federal government has so far shown little support for ongoing flexibility. Scott Morrison bluntly told workers to “get back to the office” in early June, on the back of a Business Council of Australia campaign to drive city foot traffic for the benefit of inner-city shops. But other nations are moving the other way.

Take the UK, for instance, which plans to lift WFH orders on July 19. Leaked reports last week suggested the Johnson government was considering legislating an ongoing requirement for employers to prove employees’ presence was essential before forcing them to physically attend the workplace. After staunch resistance from major employers, Johnson walked back the scope of the potential reform to merely allowing employees to request remote working arrangements.