Working from home in post-COVID Australia

By Sean Bates
Friday, 02 October, 2020

Working from home in post-COVID Australia

The COVID-19 pandemic that began sweeping the globe in early 2020 has resulted in several effects that have significantly changed many people’s lives.

One of these changes is in how and where people work. Although it could be (rightfully) argued that many employers had already understood and embraced the advantages of true workplace flexibility, it was not until the realities of the pandemic set in that the shift took place in earnest.

Within weeks, there was a huge move to remote work. In conjunction, the use of tools such as Zoom and Teams exploded in terms of user adoption and growth.

With that growth came an increased focus on these tools, from both the vendors themselves (who quickly redirected efforts to provide additional features) and also from ‘bad actors’ who set out to look for exploits and vulnerabilities.

Another change is that the typical usage pattern of most Australian residential internet services has fundamentally changed, putting increased pressure on an already fragile nbn.

Today, there is a much higher percentage of employees who continue to work remotely, including many in companies that have offered them the opportunity to work remotely permanently or indefinitely.

Conversely, there are many employers who have insisted that their employees return to the office — even if there is still a health risk and/or little tangible benefit. The poor performance of home internet services is often cited as a justification (excuse?) for this stance.

Conveniently, the federal government recently announced that it would be spending an additional $3 billion to further upgrade half of the existing FTTN network — a tacit acknowledgement that the nbn is not adequate or fit for purpose.

This comes mere months after the nbn was officially declared ‘complete’.

Who could have guessed that using a ‘multi-technology mix’ such as FTTN, FTTC, HFC and fibre would not provide a uniformly high-performing network for the majority of Australians?

Furthermore, who could have foreseen that it would need to be rebuilt so soon after completion?

And who could have known that all of these decisions would actually end up being more expensive than using fibre for as much of the network as possible?

Who indeed.

Sean Bates is a board member and Secretary of the ITPA. He is an IT industry veteran with a particular interest in cybersecurity, agile ways of working and digital transformation.

Image credit: © Calaitzis

Information Technology Professionals Association (ITPA) is a not-for-profit organisation focused on continual professional development for its 18,700 members. To learn more about becoming an ITPA member, and the range of training opportunities, mentoring programs, events and online forums available, go to

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