Johanna Rumphorst

We all know the feeling of hearing our alarm clock at 6:30am. The ominous ringing crashes into a headache before your eyes are even open. The headache is worsened by rushing to get clothes on, a hastily dispatched breakfast and a sprint to the train or tram. The craziness of a pre-lockdown morning is something we do not miss. Then COVID-19 came. 

After a long day of work at the computer, instant messages with colleagues instead of meetings and a one-hour commute back home, we were wondering: why not work from home? Our longing for more home office opportunities have long been ignored, until COVID-19 entered our lives. The Coronavirus has changed our lives in countless ways –socially, romantically, medically and in terms of locality as well. Our work situations have been changed irrevocably, with the home office now the ‘new normal.’ Even with lockdown restrictions being​ eased, a lot of offices will remain closed and large companies like Twitter have already announced that they will continue to offer home office to their employees –

it seems like home office is here to stay. In expensive cities like Sydney, many companies are being tempted to ditch their high office rent and continue to work remotely, meeting only for key meetings sporadically and when essential. 

Benefits of A Home Office: 

Of course, working from home has its pros and cons. Millennials have been calling for home office opportunities for many years and the pandemic has shown that remote work is not only possible, but also brings many benefits. Research has found, that working from home not only can boost employee’s productivity but also improve their work/life balance and therefore positively effect mental health. The rather sudden introduction of lockdown measures meant that​ certain home office experiences were not ideal. However, with social distancing measures being eased and everybody excelling at Zoom, we can collectively begin exploring the positive sides home office has to offer. Schools are back and Sydney’s cafes are returning to life, so whether you work in your old office building, at home or in your favourite café, it doesn’t really matter. Home office gives flexibility, especially when it comes to childcare or organising social events. Another plus is that the frustrating commuting time during rush hour can be used proactively, either for a long sleep or a quick workout before work. 

Make the most of your working space:

As we are still in the first few months of the new normal, our home offices are more like temporary workstations. But with remote work potentially becoming permanent, we should start treating our office at home as such. It is important to create an environment that will help us work efficiently – a clean desk, natural light and a calm surrounding can be instant and effective changes. Keep everything tidy and add some plants to ease work stress. You should also look into appropriate office chairs like ergonomic chairs to minimize back problems as​ well as an ergonomic keyboard. Something else that you should keep close to your working space is a yoga mat. You can then use your breaks as an opportunity to do some stretches and calming yoga exercises – something that would be impossible in regular office. Another investment that might be worthwhile is a new coffee machine. Work always seems easier with a good coffee! 

Change your surroundings:

We recommend regularly switching up your work location for those working remotely. For example, try to implement one day a week working in your favourite cafe with a colleague or in a co-working space so as to not lose the social aspect of an office. Whatever you do, it’s time to figure out how working remotely works best for you because the home office is likely here to stay.