In brief

In brief

  • The rapid introduction of remote working during the pandemic has left public service workers with a desire for more flexibility and tech-enablement.
  • Agencies have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reimagine how people work – boosting productivity and ability to attract and retain talent.
  • New technology, including digital twins and virtual reality, can play multiple roles at the heart of this new, more flexible world of work.
  • The key is to create a holistic strategy. We’ve identified and outlined five practical steps to make this vision a reality.

A crossroads for public service organisations

When societies emerge from the pandemic and people return to their workplaces, public service organisations will be at a crossroads. Either they can try to retrofit old office-based ways of working and patch on some remote capabilities. Or they can fundamentally rethink and reimagine work for the post COVID-19 era.

By accelerating the move toward ever more flexible and location-agnostic ways of working, the pandemic has put us at a tipping-point. How? By creating a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reinvent work for good.

It’s an opportunity that public service organisations must grasp – or find themselves being left behind in everything from attracting talent to providing the services that citizens want.

Heading in a new direction

Accenture’s Tech Vision 2021 survey and recent Public Service Career of Choice research show that there’s no going back to the “old normal” for public service organisations.


of public service leaders believe their organisation is moving to truly virtualised work: a model where work processes are virtual, and people come together physically when it adds value.


of public service organisations have productivity metrics that indicate that productivity has stayed the same or improved during COVID-19 (35% do not have metrics).


of public service workers say they want to increase how much they work remotely.


of public service leaders strongly agree or agree that a remote workforce opens up the market for difficult to find talent.

The holistic approach

To truly reimagine the world of work, public service organisations need to take a holistic approach towards their workforce, work environment and the work itself. Achieving your vision will only be possible if you address every part of how you operate, rather than focusing on discrete areas of change.

That means you have to become agile and flexible, always ready to deliver for your people and those you serve, no matter how quickly their needs change.

Five key steps to reimagine the world of work

Create and commit to the right strategy

The CHRO can’t go it alone; many other functions have a key role to play. The whole C-Suite must come together to agree the future workforce strategy.

Collectively reshape culture

Engage with and empower your people to help shape work to meet their needs, improving retention, satisfaction and services.

Blend digital and physical

Technologies such as digital twin will allow your people to fully participate and deliver for citizens, no matter where they are physically.

Rethink roles to leave employees “Net Better Off”

Consider how to improve everything from employees’ productivity to their everyday working experience through to their skills.

Embed responsibility, ethics and safety

Apply principles of responsibility and ethics throughout the process. Make physical and mental health and safety a priority.

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You can’t predict the future. But you can prepare for it.

By taking a holistic approach, moving at speed and continuously evolving, public service organisations can define and execute a vision of work that meets current and future needs.

Success will be dependent on trust. Trust between employees and leadership, but also between citizens and public services. By committing to reimagining the world of work, public service organisations will build and maintain that trust, positioning themselves to deliver for employees and citizens, no matter what the future brings.

Rainer Binder

Managing Director – Public Service, Social Services Lead

Marni Poropat

Director – Consulting, Public Service, Australia and New Zealand


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