In summary

  • Swinburne staff continue to implement creative ways to stay connected while working from home. Brand Design Coordinator, Elliot Walsh, shares how he and his family of four manage the challenge

What's been your biggest challenge working from home? 

Luckily I haven’t really had any big challenges. But if I were to pick one it would be maintaining my relationships with people outside of my team. There’s a lot of office faces I haven’t seen since we started working from home so not seeing them and having those random lunchroom chats has been a bit of a downer. Lately I’ve been booking in remote coffee catch ups to help fix that.

What has pleasantly surprised you about working from home? 

Surprisingly, I would say my productivity has gone up. Which to be honest, I didn’t expect. At first I thought working from home would provide more distractions with things like kids, or the urge to get an odd job done around the house, or even just battling my mind to not get up every five minutes for those potato chips calling me. But for the most part none of that has happened (and I’ve stopped buying potato chips).

How are you staying connected with Swinburne/your colleagues? 
As I said earlier, I’ve started booking random one-on-one coffee catch ups with colleagues via Teams and I always make sure I can attend trivia events and Friday drinks when they’re on. Hopefully when restrictions ease, I can organise some out-of-office activities with everyone.

How do you unwind/switch off from work (mentally/physically)? 

I’m very lucky to have a small office/studio/shed separate from the house so once I go back inside the house it’s usually a good breaker or divide from ‘work’ and ‘home’. Also, our yard is mostly bushland so there’s always plenty of yard-work to do which is a good way to get outside and get some exercise.

Elliot finds balance in his working from home schedule by taking a break and strolling through the bush with his family.

What is your lockdown recommendation? (favourite dinner to cook at home, podcast, book, TV show/movie, social media follow…)

We recently bought an air fryer and I highly recommend. I’m not a chef at all but, I’ve been making my own parmas in absence of being able to have one at the pub and they go really well in the fryer.

With podcasts I jump between Marc Maron’s and Joe Rogan’s work at the moment. They’re both interview style podcasts and usually have a good range of interesting people on them.

With TV, my wife and I binge Catfish when we’re too tired to think, and I’ve also just started revisiting The Sopranos – Such a classic!

Have you stocked up on anything? (coffee, chickpeas, puzzles…)

We’ve been pretty good in not stockpiling. Although, I think we have enough kitchen paper now to see us out for the rest of the year…

Who is in your family at home?

At home I have my wife Courtney, daughter Olive (two-years-old) and son Otis (two-months-old).

What is your best tip for juggling kids and work?

I always try to have a kid’s book, pencil and paper, and a few other knick-knacks on hand. Sometimes my daughter will wander down to visit me when I’m in the middle of something and these things will usually keep her occupied (even if only for ten minutes).

Tell us a story! (the funniest/trickiest/strangest thing that's happened with work and having kids at home)

Luckily, I’ve not experienced any funny or weird hiccups myself. However, my wife also works for a university and once when she stepped away from her laptop, my daughter thought she’d have a tap on the keyboard and sent a mysterious toddler-coded email to my wife’s Pro Vice Chancellor! It wasn’t until the PVC replied that my wife realised what she’d done.

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