Public servants have been told they should work from home if their department can arrange it.
Some bureaucrats had expressed concerns they were not being allowed to work from home even as the government tightened restrictions on gatherings and daily life to slow the spread of coronavirus.
But on Sunday evening, the Australian Public Service Commission, which governs the Commonwealth public service, issued a directive that all agency heads should let their staff follow what many in the private sector have been doing: staying away from the office.
Commissioner Peter Woolcott says working from home is now a priority "wherever this is practicable".
"Agency heads have always had the flexibility for employees to work at home subject to operational requirements," he said in a statement.
"But current circumstances mean as soon as practicable, agency heads should facilitate their staff working from home where possible."
However, he noted the decision will ultimately lie with the boss of each department.
"The ability for employees to work from home will depend on the types of advice and work they need to undertake. For operational reasons some employees will need to come to work," the commission's circular states.
The public sector union called last Wednesday for the move, saying it was reckless and short-sighted that some departments and agencies were blocking requests to work from home or being slow to implement the change.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has also asked agency heads to move staff to where they are needed most urgently to respond to the coronavirus crisis.
Australian Associated Press