The rules for working in the public service are to be reviewed in the light of the forecast of an imminent surge in the number of cases of COVID.
The question will be whether there should be more leeway to allow home-working as the number of cases jumps. The Australian Public Service Commission gives advice to each agency, and each agency then decides how that advice should be implemented.
"The minister has asked the APSC to review its current guidance to agencies across the Australian Public Service in light of the predictions of increasing COVID cases in coming weeks," a spokesperson for the Public Service minister, Senator Katy Gallagher said.
Ministries are not disclosing exactly how staff shortages are affecting them but it is believed that they, like other workplaces, are struggling, with that struggle threatening to get harder as the number of cases doubles or triples in the next few weeks.
The Attorney-General's Department said: "The department has experienced a rise in COVID-19 case numbers, as expected with the increase in numbers seen in multiple jurisdictions.
"Our Incident Management Team is closely monitoring the situation to ensure we have in place appropriate arrangements to maintain a safe and healthy workplace, as well as closely monitoring the impact on the capacity of teams to deliver.
The ACT government has announced that it is starting a big recruitment drive for bus drivers partly because of the continuing impact of the pandemic.
"COVID-19 is having a significant impact on public transport networks across the world, with reliability and service levels under pressure, as we continue to see more staff taking sick leave and carers' leave." the ACT's Minister for Transport Chris Steel said.
"We want to strengthen public transport service frequency but to do that reliably during the pandemic we need to grow a bigger and more flexible workforce."
In the private sector, companies already struggling with severe COVID-induced staff shortages are bracing themselves for even more pressure.
On Monday, the ACT's chief health officer said she expected cases to rise from the current thousand or so a day to 2000 or 3000.
That would be "challenging", according to the ACT's Business Chamber.
Some hotels are already operating at 85 per cent capacity only because of kitchen or cleaning staff absences. They've altered rostering to try to prevent one case of COVID taking out a whole shift. They are also offering bar and restaurant vouchers to customers who agree not to have their rooms serviced every day.
A labour hire company said it was already finding it hard to cope with the intense demand for staff on construction sites because of the severe shortage of workers to satisfy that demand.
"It's a very tight market right now," Steve Shelton of Canberra Labour Hire said. "Because there's a very low supply but a very high demand, businesses are prepared to pay any amount of money just to get people to show up."
"Demand is going to keep going up and supply will go down," he said in view of the coming wave of infections.
Some industries have been doing their best to cope with staff shortages for some time.
"Hotels have been short-staffed since January," Anthony Brierley, the general manager of the Australian Hotels Association in Canberra, said.
"We keep on keeping on," he said.
"We've got a labour shortage already, and we've been resilient for the past two-and-a-half years. If we have to work a little bit harder to get through the next few months, then we'll do it."
Hotels have adapted to shortages, often at very short notice. Hours have been changed. Teams have been changed so that one person sick doesn't mean that a whole team has to take time off.
The general view is that business really doesn't want a return to lockdown. "Business having to adapt is much more preferable to no business being done at all," Graham Catt, chief executive of the Canberra Business Chamber, said.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.