The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment has rejected union claims it will put staff at risk by hotdesking when it moves into a new building in 2022.
During a sitting of a parliamentary committee examining public works on Thursday, department executives said the new building was being designed with the COVID-19 restrictions in mind.
Submissions from the Community and Public Sector Union said the new $78 million building, on the corner of Northbourne Avenue and Cooyong Street, would have less space per employee than current arrangements.
The union said plans for "activity-based working" was just public service jargon for hotdesking, a practice that would put employees at risk.
However, Katherine Divett, an executive from Puzzle Partners contracted to the project, said the new building, dubbed CQ2, was being designed with the capability to accommodate the current COVID-19 social distancing restrictions.
She said CQ2 would have the same number of desks as the two offices on Marcus Clarke Street and London Circuit that the department currently occupied.
"If the department chooses to occupy the building in an assigned way, or one seat per person, there is the capacity to do that," Ms Divett said.
"The new building can absolutely accommodate the current social distancing requirements.
"We are designing it very consciously so the department has as much flexibility [as possible] about the way that we choose to occupy the building."
She said as the department was not due to move into the new building for another two years it was difficult to predict what coronavirus restrictions would be necessary at that time.
The department's chief operating officer, Cindy Briscoe, said since employees had begun returning to work, the department had implemented numerous health and safety protocols to ensure staff could correctly socially distance themselves.
The measures included closing off desks that were not 1.5 metres from other workers, anchoring staff to desks so they did not move around, cleaning increased significantly throughout the day and supplying staff with wipes and hand sanitiser.
Ms Briscoe said these measures could all be implemented at the new building and staff surveys would also be used to inform the new building's design.
She said the department would not expect staff to be coming into the office and switching desks day to day, but that certain areas would be designed to accommodate staff in different ways.
She did concede that should it be appropriate some staff might move through different spaces and would be assisted by lockers where items could be stored. But if at any point after moving into the new building it was a similar environment to the current coronavirus situation staff would not be moving around.