The Future of Work

24 May 2022

IPAA Victoria was proud to partner with PwC to deliver The Future of Work: Can the public sector return to the way we were, and would we want to?

The event was hosted by Nina Cullen, CEO IPAA Victoria, and Nick Chiam, Partner PwC, with a highly engaging panel involving Adam Fennessy PSM, Anne Congleton and Peter Wheeler.

In keeping with the event’s theme, this was a hybrid event exploring what the future of work might look like, what we have learnt over the past two years and how we can continue the momentum to create a more flexible, sustainable, people-centred future of work.

In the past two years, there has been huge disruption to public sector workplaces and workforces as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, but this has also meant that workplaces have adopted new media, technology and digital services, have embraced new ways of managing teams, and have seen the expectations of the typical "9 to 5" workday blown wide open. Importantly, conversations around work-life balance and wellbeing have become far more commonplace.

The panel explored what this disruption has meant for the public sector and more broadly, as well as where we think the future of work and the future of the worker might be heading.

Some key insights included:

  • The shift to more flexible and remote working arrangements prompted a re-think on service delivery, particularly place-based service delivery, being mindful of the need to ensure risks to staff and clients, particularly health risks arising from the pandemic, were managed appropriately while still delivering good outcomes for clients

  • There is now much greater emphasis on what you do as an employee rather than where you are, and this provides an opportunity to continually focus on working where you get your best outcome

  • The shift to more flexible work arrangements has been embraced by a large proportion of workers, with 78 per cent of workers indicating support for continuing some form of hybrid working into the future

  • However, the benefits of more flexible work arrangements have not been experienced uniformly, and general levels of fatigue and stress have been felt across the sector

  • There is still value in in-person interactions and engagement to build trust and connections in teams – the value of incidental contact and engagement cannot be overstated

The panel reflected that, although this has been a shift driven largely by technology, this is fundamentally a change about people. We are only at the start of this journey and there is now an amazing opportunity to learn from our experiences to purposefully design what the future of work and the worker might look like.

IPAA Victoria would like to sincerely thank all of the speakers, attendees, and PwC Australia for this invaluable session. We look forward to continuing to drive these important conversations in the future.

Thank you to all the speakers, attendees, and PwC Australia for this invaluable session.

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