When coronavirus was officially designated a global pandemic in March last year, governments moved fast to protect their citizens. Their priority was to save lives by suppressing the spread of the virus, and central to that approach was encouraging people to work from home where possible. Of course, governments are not just the arbiters of lockdowns – they are major employers as well – and as such, they managed their own mass transitions to remote working.This New Year has begun with a fresh round of lockdown restrictions in many countries. But as vaccination programmes raise hopes for a return to normal life, governments are increasingly thinking through the legacy of coronavirus on their ways of working. Based on our observations and conversations with public officials around the world, this article explores six lessons for the much-anticipated return to office life for governments in 2021.