Two months in, and the WFH (working-from-home) novelty is wearing off. Sure, there’s no early morning commute and no need to do your hair, but there’s also no clear rhythm, a blurry-at-best separation of home and work life. And neither Zoom nor your beloved pet can replace those formal and incidental workplace interactions you are craving.
Despite the promise of freedom and free time, WFH has left many people feeling like they are working longer hours and getting less done (Is the work from home honeymoon over? AFR May 5, 2020).
So, whilst we agree with The Guardian and Washington Post that the cult of productivity can be counter-productive during COVID-19, we are keen to understand the optimal conditions for supporting productive work.
Productivity is the holy grail for students, parents, entrepreneurs, corporate climbers, chefs, manufacturers, artists and virtuosos. Productivity might take its lead from Voltaire (“The perfect is the energy of the good”) and seek fast iterations and rapid prototyping to arrive at a successful outcome*. Or it might channel positive psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi and seek for that illusive state of ‘flow’ where you are in the moment, focusing completely on a single task, and finding a sense of calm and happiness in your work. Or it might simply be about doing the right things at the right time á la Tim Ferriss (“Focus on being productive instead of busy.”)
For The Office Space, it’s not a work versus rest equation but rather productivity versus procrastination. And that is at the heart of what we do – we work hard to create optimal working environments for people – a place to focus while allowing for spontaneous and formal interactions.
In this month’s THOUGHT essay Georgina Safe looks at exactly what makes a home or work office great.
Siena White takes an economist’s view of productivity in CASE and unpacks the ‘productivity puzzle’.
In PROFILE we turn to Living Edge Director of Product, Brand and Experience, Jo Mawhinney, about how to set up the ideal office.
Just in time for loosening lockdown laws, GUIDE takes you to one of Sydney’s latest F&B destinations – the ambitious Four Pillars Gin Laboratory in Surry Hills.
In SPOTLIGHT, we poke fun at the office archetypes you might be missing whilst working from home, in an article originally penned for the Paramount House magazine released in 2019.
And finally, PULSE takes a sobering look at the impact of COVID on productions and creative arts.
For the final word on Productivity, we turn to prolific American author Gretchen Rubin:
“I always had the uncomfortable feeling that if I wasn’t sitting in front of a computer typing, I was wasting my time — but I pushed myself to take a wider view of what was “productive.” Time spent with my family and friends was never wasted.”
* Speaking of fast iterations, The Office Space has been busy overhauling our website. It’s not perfect (yet!) but it was done in record time and we love it. Have a look around and feel free to send us your feedback (or flag a typo).
Illustrations by Nikki Fisher