Working from home: staff in the College of Medicine and Public Health

Working at home: Peet de Villiers, Meredith Sack, Kelly Walewicz, Julie Inglis, Dr Liu-Fei Tan, Jacqui Michalski, Rob Stafford, Dr Abraham Kuot, Dr Ruwani Kulasekara

This week I spoke to a range of staff members about their working from home arrangements and how they are managing with the sudden change to their working lives.

The common theme is that most of us are missing being around our colleagues physically, but there are also many upsides. Below are some examples, from a broad selection of people who normally are based at Bedford Park, Mt Gambier, Renmark and Darwin.

Peet de Villiers, People and Culture Business Partner  
A huge challenge for me is that my home office is right near the kitchen and that means that I’m really close to the fridge … it is becoming a very close companion!

Meredith Sack, Senior Clinician Support Officer 
I am very grateful to be able to work from home and whilst some days are challenging overall it has been a positive experience. What has helped has been to ensure I take regular short breaks from sitting, as I no longer get the incidental exercise of working on campus.
A morning 45 minute walk and yoga at night has been a great way to prepare for the day and to unwind at night.

Kelly Walewicz, People and Culture Coordinator
I find it really easy to focus on work activities when working from home, but find I can be sitting in the same position or working on the same task for long periods. Setting up a routine including morning tea, lunch with a walk, stretch breaks and scheduling work activities helps me to do my best work.
Reaching out to colleagues via phone or video call and regular team check-ins are proving to be a great way to maintain iso-sanity.

Julie Inglis, Manager, International Recruitment and Engagement
I like having my dogs keeping me company and sane at the ‘office’ although the biggest distraction is them asking for food constantly and wanting lots of pats! Hearing the birds chirping constantly at the window is bliss and having soft music with incense burning keeps me calm and productive.
Keeping connected daily with colleagues has been really important … and I’ve got to learn a lot more about them than I would have in the workplace!

Dr Liu-Fei Tan, Lecturer in Biotechnology
The thing I like the most is my work desk is 1cm away from my bed! I do not need to wake up at 7:00am to shower, apply make-up and dress-up for work, nor worry about getting a place to park on campus.

The biggest challenge for me is that I miss the people at work and I miss walking around the campus.
My solution to keeping my children occupied while working at home: I bought a ping pong table to keep them busy.

Jacqui Michalski, Program Administrator, Flinders Rural Health South Australia
The thing I like best working from home is the peace: I live out of town and the peace and quiet is very soothing and calming in this stressful environment, it’s a lot easier to focus. I do miss seeing my colleagues in 3D though.

Rob Stafford, Administrative Assistant, Flinders Rural Health South Australia
I guess the biggest challenge I have faced is not being with the team on a daily basis. We’re such a tight knit group and there’s always someone or something happening to brighten your day.
Weekly video call/team meetings have been great. To see their faces and laugh about things helps to relieve the isolation of being at home.
My hot tip is to stick to a routine: take a break at morning tea and lunch time. If the weather’s good – try to get outside in the fresh air and sunshine.
It’s also nice to have the odd visit from the dog – they’re always pleased you’re at home!

Dr Abraham Kuot, Research Fellow, Flinders Rural Health South Australia
During the first week of my working at home, the working hours felt longer than when I used to work in the University work office – did anyone feel the same?😊😊

Dr Ruwani Kulasekara, Lecturer Clinical Skills / Doctor and Patient Year 2, Flinders Northern Territory
The biggest challenge for me was not having the usual faces around me. I work for NTMP mainly from Darwin CDU campus. There we have a small group of staff, all of whom are very helpful. If we have to solve a problem, it used to be so easy to meet in person and discuss. Now it’s much more challenging and I miss seeing them around.
The solution is to have a once a week meeting where we discuss all the issues every person has to deal with. At the moment these meetings are very lengthy but it helps to reconnect and address the issues that we need to find answers to.

Would you like to share your experiences of working at home? Feel free to send a photo and a brief explanation to

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