More than three-quarters of Canberra's federal public servants have returned to the office after months of working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, new data has revealed.
At the start of December 2020, 78 per cent of Canberra-based federal public service workers were back to their usual work locations, data provided to The Canberra Times by the Australian Public Service Commission showed.
The commission said it marked a 5 per cent increase on the previous fortnight's data in mid-November.
The figures showed less than one-quarter of public servants remained under working from home arrangements in the nation's capital, which hasn't recorded a case of community transmission in six months.
Nationally, the number sits slightly lower with approximately 65 per cent of APS employees returning to their regular workplaces - a 2 per cent increase on the previous fortnight.
While the commission doesn't record figures for the month of January due to shutdown periods, it's expected the percentage will rise once February data is collected as Melbourne and Sydney workers return to office buildings amid lifted restrictions.
Federal public servants were first asked to start returning to workplaces in September after the APSC issued a circular outlining its advice.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the public service needed to set an example by returning back to the office in order to pick local economies back up.
"It is important for ... public servants to be back in their offices, buying their lunch at the local cafe and doing all of those things which support particularly those CBD economies," Mr Morrison said in September.
"It's time to get our CBDs humming again and I think the Commonwealth public service taking the lead in that regard is a good thing."
But Canberra cafes told The Canberra Times in October the return had had little impact on the businesses' struggling revenue streams.
Interlude Espresso Bar owner Trent Esmerian said he was concerned the trickle in of public servants wouldn't be enough to keep his cafe going.
"We were barely doing 10 per cent previous revenue," Mr Esmerian said.
"Only in the last couple of weeks have we finally exceeded that, and we've jumped up to roughly 20 per cent previous revenue.
"I'm hoping that I haven't seen the full effect of the office workers coming back because if 25 per cent is my new normal then that's not good for me."
Meanwhile, the territory's public servants have been provided with flexible working arrangements depending on their role.