06/05/2022 - 15:35

Miners signal CBD return

06/05/2022 - 15:35

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An influx of approximately 8,000 workers could return to Perth’s CBD as BHP, Chevron and Woodside look to encourage hybrid work models.

Miners signal CBD return
CBD businesses have struggled as COVID-19 cases increase. Photo: David Henry

An influx of approximately 8,000 workers could return to Perth’s CBD as BHP, Chevron and Woodside look to encourage hybrid work models.

It comes a week after Western Australia returned to baseline health measures, including the removal of indoor mask mandates, capacity limits, border restrictions and proof of vaccination requirements.

The decision was accompanied by comments from Premier Mark McGowan encouraging the state’s workforce to return to the CBD, with Perth business owners and operators impacted by a lack of usual foot traffic due to COVID-19.

Perth Lord Mayor Basil Zempilas had said previously that a dwindling worker presence in Perth’s largest office towers had made it difficult for businesses operating in the city.

With restrictions eased, Chevron said its Perth workforce returned to the CBD on May 3 after working from home since January.

"Based on the advice of our Medical Team, our Perth workforce returned to our CBD offices as of 3 May," a Chevron spokesperson told Business News.

“Going forward, hybrid work arrangements, which were introduced in mid-2021, will continue to be available to our workforce."

It is understood staff work from home on Monday and Friday, but are encouraged to work in the office for the days inbetween.

"With the option to work from home two days per week, hybrid work supports greater work-life balance while maintaining in-office collaboration and connection," the spokesperson said.

BHP is set to re-open its Brookfield Place office to approximately 4,000 workers based at the CBD site from Monday.

Workers will need to wear surgical masks if they are unable to maintain physical distancing, with rapid antigen tests required every 48 hours. 

"The Perth office will re-open to all employees from May 9, with measures in place including the use of surgical masks when 1.5m physical distancing cannot be maintained and regular Rapid Antigen Testing of all our workforce," A BHP spokesperson said.

"Surgical masks have been effective in minimising transmission across our workforce.

"This measure will remain in place over forthcoming weeks, and as with all of our COVID controls, will be subject to regular review and changes."

As is the case across many WA businesses, BHP has flexible working arrangements seeking to balance work from home and days in the office.

Meanwhile, Woodside Petroleum is encouraging its approximate 2,000 staff to return to the office. 

"Prior to April 29, we had been encouraging staff to work 50 per cent from home where practical," A Woodside spokesperson said.

"Since then, we have been encouraging staff to return to working in the office in line with our flexible work policy."

Subject to fluctuation, these changes could see a combined 8,000 people returning to the CBD.

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