Hopes for Politics, Workplaces, and Science

Posted by Fiona Prestedge, Melbourne

22 May 2020

In response to the onset of COVID our government began operating in a more constructive manner, demonstrating bipartisan leadership and decision making in the broader  interests of the community during what is clearly a crisis period. My early thoughts were that perhaps this is a period of learning that may see a shift in political maturity as our government plans our country’s pathway out of COVID restrictions.  My observations in relation to recent interactions amongst some of our political leaders suggest this may be short-lived rather than enduring change in the behaviour of our political leaders.  My hope is we have learned through this very short, intense period and that some  positive changes can endure.

The workplace
Many workers and leaders have learned over the past weeks that people can and do work without having to be in attendance at an office.  There are others who cannot wait to get back to a workplace.  My hope is that life after COVID will see a greater acceptance of flexible working, a recognition there are different drivers of motivation and productivity by individual and a willingness to adopt new practices to reflect these learnings.  Interestingly, many of our flexible work practices in response to COVID have been adopted in a very agile manner.  People have responded quickly, been innovative and found simple and effective solutions to simply keep services running and make things happen.  I am seeing requests for some of these changes to be ongoing and I am hopeful we can explore and implement workplace operating models in as agile and responsive a manner post COVID as we were able to implement in a crisis scenario.

Our Science Community
I feel within Australia we give sporadic recognition to the contribution of the science and research community.  This is the very industry that will help us take the next steps out of COVID and my hope, post COVID is that we can find a place that encourages a greater number of smart and passionate scientists to take on this career pathway and recognises their contribution to our community for the long haul - research takes time and is not a short gig.

After Covid