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Hot-Desking ‘Dead’: Many Home Workers Spurn Return To City

SYDNEY: Many Australian office workers who have spent recent weeks and months working from home are declining to return to office buildings, according to a news report – and may be within their rights to do so, according to lawyers.

The workers are concerned that “hot desking’ in open- plan offices, as well as shared kitchens and crowded lifts, are among the hazards they are seeking to avoid.

Erin Kidd, a senior lawyer at McCabe Curwood, late last week told the Sydney Morning Herald that employers have a duty to provide a safe work environment.

Kidd reportedly said there were many reasons justifying staff to continue working from home, including fear of contracting Covid-19 in the office, a lack of childcare, or problems with public transport.

Liam O’Brien, assistant secretary of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, said businesses should be compelled to supply personal protective equipment and offer paid pandemic leave for workers to identify exposure early.

And there should be no more shared desks.  “Hot desking is dead,” O’Brien said.

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