Out Of Office? Reclaim Your Space So You Can Switch Off This Holiday Season

December 23, 2021

As most of the nation spent the best part of 2021 working remotely, new research reveals that Australians fear they won’t be able to switch off this festive season as their home office has turned into their home. 

After a challenging two years filled with constant change, lockdowns, restrictions and office closures, there has been very little differentiation between work and home life, with the line between both worlds becoming blurred. New research from Allianz Australia reveals 89 per cent of Australians are ‘over this year’ and are ready for the summer break, yet 2 in 5 people won’t be able to switch off as their home has turned into their home office (41 per cent).

When thinking about the last 12 months, Australians describe the year as a ‘rollercoaster’ (43 per cent), taxing on their mental health (32 per cent) and ‘lacked work-life balance’ (20 per cent), with over a third (37 per cent) admitting they were unhappy that their office space was in a communal part of their home. From working in their spare bedroom (31 per cent), kitchen table (6 per cent) or in their lounge room (9 per cent), Australians agree, it is time to switch off and prioritise their personal lives (57 per cent).

Despite the desire to take a break over the summer holidays, Australians openly admit they are not making the conscious effort to pack down their desks (71 per cent) or turn off their notifications (61 per cent) – making it near impossible to properly log off. As a result, it is no surprise choosing to not mentally and physically switch off has left nearly three quarters (71 per cent) stressed out about the upcoming holidays.

The research from Allianz also revealed:

  • 2 in 5 Australians admit that switching off is becoming increasingly difficult as the line between home and work life has become blurred.
  • 89% say they are ‘over this year’ and are ready for the summer break.
  • Nearly three quarters (71%) are stressed out about the upcoming holidays
  • 71% openly admit they are not making the conscious effort to pack down their desks.
  • 31% won’t be turning off their work notifications.

With nearly three quarters (72 per cent) of Australians looking to improve their home office set-up and two-thirds (65 per cent) wishing it was better suited to their work and personal needs, Allianz has partnered with interior stylist Gina Ciancio of Style Curator to help Aussies transform their home back into a safe haven this holiday season.

Gina Ciancio said, “Whether you’ve been working from your kitchen bench, dining table, bedroom or study, there are simple updates that can be made to reinvigorate your space ahead of the New Year. Amidst the celebrations with family and friends, this is also a great time to reflect on what did and didn’t work for you in your space, and look at small ways to improve this, such as decluttering old files, considering new storage solutions and even returning the room to its original intention.”

Prior to the pandemic, the home was a sanctuary where Aussies could switch off from the pressures of work and check in to our personal lives – yet after a year of various challenges (48 per cent), burn out (27 per cent) and a lack of work-life balance (20 per cent), over half the nation (57 per cent) are ready to switch off from work and prioritise their personal life.

Tips from interior stylist, Gina Ciancio:

  • In your study:
    • Declutter any paper or items that you no longer need. Clean up your desk space and try to be minimalistic with desk items and decorations. 
    • Consider a new colour palette within your study. This subtle change can help with our mental state, including our thinking and creativity. 
    • Storage solutions are your friend! Check out some homeware stores to get inspiration for new storage solutions and to see what’s possible.
  • In your dining room:
    • Create a positive connection to nature. From plants and cut flowers to crystals, all can bring an extra element of energy and vibrancy into your dining room.
    • Bring back the personal and homey touches. Add some new photos from the past year, or display objects that are meaningful to you.
  • In your bedroom:
    • If you’ve been working from your bedroom, refresh your space with a new bedspread set or add some extra feature pillows.
    • Add an extra element of calm into your bedroom. Having essential oils or incense in this room also can help create a sanctuary away from work.

Clinical psychologist Jaimie Bloch said, “2021 has been full of curveballs and taxing on the mental health of employees and employers around Australia. The end of the year marks a moment to reset, restore and recover some balance, and a great way of doing this is by turning your home office back into your home. Working from the bedroom or dining room table can cause the lines between work and personal life to blur and it’s important Aussies use the summer break as a time to recharge and create mentally healthy workspaces for the new year.”

The research from Allianz went on to reveal Australians have mixed feelings towards what the New Year holds. While Aussies are looking forward to returning to ‘normal life’ (52 per cent) and having the choice to work in the office or remotely (44 per cent), their main concerns are around work-life balance slipping in priority (22 per cent), the home office suffering (12 per cent) and commuting to work (10 per cent).

Julie Mitchell, Chief General Manager, Personal Injury, Allianz Australia said, “At Allianz, we are encouraging Australians to use this holiday season to reclaim their homes by creating mentally healthy working spaces. Amongst reconnecting with family and friends, and getting some much needed down time after the year that was, it’s also essential to prioritise reflection and looking to how we can start the New Year in the best place possible. And with most Australians continuing to work from home, our home offices are a perfect place to start.”

For Australians wishing to learn how to reclaim their home during the holiday period, visit Allianz.com.au/ReclaimYourHome.