Sick leave in the Northern Ireland Civil Service has fallen by more than 30% after staff started working from home.
Most employees in Stormont departments have been out of the office since March because of the Covid crisis.
And it has coincided with a significant drop in absenteeism.
The Civil Service employs around 22,000 people here.
The Department of Finance said 88,673 sick days were recorded between April 1 and September 30 this year.
That was a dramatic fall of 31.4% from 129,305 days lost over the same period in 2019.
It comes after the Northern Ireland Audit Office found that consistently high levels of sick leave within the organisation had cost the public purse £169m since 2015.
Its report, published last month, said sickness absence had increased by 10% in five years, with staff off for an average of almost 13 days annually. Sick rates here are almost double those of civil servants in England.
Auditors found nearly 40% of the days lost were down to anxiety, stress and depression, signalling a possible problem with morale.
The Department of Finance said it was too early to say whether the trend for home-working was helping address absenteeism.
"Reducing sick absence rates remains a priority for the Civil Service," it explained.
"At this stage in the pandemic it is too early to evaluate the reasons for the decrease and if it/how much can be attributed to the impact of working from home.
"The NICS will be carrying out a review of sickness absence for the 2020/21 financial year to fully understand the reasons for the welcome decrease in the number of sick days."
Ulster Unionist Party leader Steve Aiken, who is head of the department's scrutiny committee in the Assembly, said it was looking at a review of the Civil Service, including its voluntary exit scheme and the problem of low morale.
He added the figures suggested home-working could help morale and opened up the possibility of staff working from remote hubs instead of travelling to offices in Belfast.
The South Antrim MLA said: "It does look as if perhaps new ways of working are in some respects helping with staff morale if there has been a fall in sick leave.
"We look forward to seeing action taken by the head of the Civil Service.
"If you consider all the government buildings and local government offices there are, there should be an opportunity where you can do home-working or perhaps link directly into hub-working where you could have a number of civil servants.
"The age profile of the Civil Service is also completely wrong. It's rapidly ageing.
"If we're going to attract younger people in, and women with really good skills, who may for other reasons, like family care, find it difficult traipsing across NI, we should be looking at whether they can work from home or from a hub close to where they live."
South Belfast SDLP MLA Matthew O'Toole, also a member of the Finance Committee, said the fall in sick leave was a welcome trend but that it was too early to say what was driving it.
"We know that many civil servants have been working hard to help deliver public services and business support through the pandemic," he added.
"But we also know our Civil Service needs a major overhaul, with the report from the Audit Office showing a crisis in morale and workforce planning. If there are lessons to be learned from performance during lockdown, that needs to be a part of the Civil Service reform programme the Executive is expected to deliver.'
According to the Department of Finance, 77.3% of its staff (2,521) were working from home on November 2.
On the same day some 352 (10.8%) were in the office, while 386 (11.8%) were on annual leave or sickness absence.
In October Finance Minister Conor Murphy told the Assembly that the advice for civil servants to work from home was likely to remain in place for the foreseeable future.
Responding to a question from the UUP's Alan Chambers, he said: "The approach of the Executive has been that office-based staff that can work from home should continue to do so.
"The Executive's five-step plan strongly encourages remote working. Hence the focus in the NICS remains on minimising the risk of transmission, ensuring that key public services continue to be delivered without interruption while helping to protect and not overburden the NHS.
"This measure is likely to be in place for some time while the risk of transmission remains high."