City workers need to commute less often but longer in Melbourne after the pandemic

Infrastructure Victoria predicted more congestion on most major highways leading to Melbourne, but said the total time drivers would spend on congested roads would not change substantially as workers commute less often.

“We will also see continued demand for really good transport links between the areas where people live and places of work in central Melbourne,” said Mr Spear.

Infrastructure Victoria advised the government to expand and improve rail infrastructure to meet growing demand in new growth areas, especially in the north and west of Melbourne, and to make the most of existing rail capacity by discounting off-peak fares to reduce congestion.

Communications manager Kelly Charlton says flexible working has made a big difference in her life.Credit:Justin McManus

Kelly Charlton is a communications manager who, like many employees, plans to continue working part-time from home next year.

Ms Charlton moved to Doreen in the far north of Melbourne during the pandemic. Starting next year, she will work in the office two days a week and at home three days a week.

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“For example, flexible working means I can drop my son off at school instead of using preschool and out-of-school care every day,” she said. “Being able to get the laundry off the line when the rain comes, it’s so micro, but it’s the kind of thing that makes a difference.”

Mrs Charlton’s commute is a 40 minute drive to another suburb, but for many of her Doreen neighbors it takes 80 minutes to get into the CBD each day. So regular services that work from home can make a big difference.

Since the pandemic, she has seen a major change in expectations.

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“My job is to frame it as flexible work for everyone, not just parents, which I love,” she said.

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