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Felicity Fahey

To the panel,

Thank you for your invitation to submit to this review.

  1. Incorporate employees' physical health into all public service practices, eg. office leasing choices. The office I work in, in Melbourne, for the Dept. of Health, largely prohibits use of the stairs. This lease was chosen despite the Dept. of Health having 'The Health and Wellbeing Program'. That is, at least in Health, procurement practices often seem inconsistent with its own explicitly stated goals of worker health or environmental sustainability.
  2. Lead the way in job sharing and/or changes to full time work definition, to perhaps being four days a week, for example, to increase work/life balance, and so mental and potentially physical health, and employment opportunities.
  3. Lead the way in teleworking. My experience with remote working/from home, has been abysmal. This is technology that has a lot of potential to assist work life balance and health and is worth getting right. My two main problems were staying connected and increasing interference with my computer's functions after I've logged out of the office system. It may sound far out, but I can visualise a world where office spaces are built to cater to the types of environments different people like to work in, rather than the business that will be housed there, because business will be largely conducted virtually with teams largely interacting virtually. For instance, an office space that is dog friendly, with workers who want to work with their dogs in the office with them can all work in the same space, regardless of which company they are working for, as the company team will all be working together online. Getting telework right will be of huge benefit and importance. The APS is far from there yet.
  4. Finally, please return to having humans as the first point of contact for all interactions across the APS. Particularly phone queries. The recorded voice options as a first point of contact for clients is off-putting, inadequate for what is being sought or not clear as to which option will get to what is being sought. It is an inflexible approach, unlike a human hearing what is being sought and being able to appropriately direct that. It is, I think, a false economy (phone waiting times of 30 mins and much more, need to be addressed too). Perhaps in a generation or two, when the current cohort of relatively highly virtual interactive capable people are entering old age, such systems will be an appropriate use of technology, but not now.

Thank you for your time,
Felicity Fahey.