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Room With A Brew


Anna Byrne captures Australian life and style in her new column for Buy Aussie Now.

Why a cuppa is the ultimate work-from-home circuit-breaker we all need.

Before Covid-19, it seemed reasonable that many a boss might be dubious when it came to allowing employees the freedoms to work from home. And we could hardly blame them. It was hard to imagine just what our productivity might have been like when left to our own devices. Would we sleep till noon? Be on one continuous snack break? Spend hours down an online rabbit hole after punching “Where are the cast of Round the Twist now?” into a Google search?

Well, as it happens, bosses didn’t have a choice when a global pandemic hit and we were all isolated to our homes, turning our living rooms and second bedrooms into office spaces overnight. Even as lockdowns ease and restrictions are relaxed, businesses are realising the financial benefits of allowing employers to work from home, whether its saving on office rental space, positive work-life balance, or the fact that we can actually still be trusted to get the job done. In fact, many people working from home are finding they are working longer hours.

Bloomberg has reported that workers in the US have logged on for an additional three hours per day compared to patterns seen before March 11 — a 40% jump —according to data from virtual private network service provider NordVPN Teams. While in the UK, France, Spain and Canada, the working day has extended by an average of two hours, with many people starting work earlier than usual.

Back home, new research from Roy Morgan has revealed that 52 per cent of those who do at least some paid work from home, and 55% who do some unpaid work from home say they ‘find it difficult to switch off from work’.

Suddenly, it seems no longer being micromanaged sees workers only taking “micro-breaks”. So how do you ensure you are utilising these breaks to benefit you?

According to business performance coach, Katrina Bromell, from KB Coaching, establishing boundaries between work and self within the home is key.  Katrina recommends scheduling the day just as if you were in the office but build in more micro-breaks that help you remain alert, positive and productive.  

“One example might be ‘walking to work’ by starting the day with a ten-minute walk around the block before starting the working day to help set the brain into work mode,” she says.

“You should also set a lunch time and stick to it. And if your dining table has become your desk, go elsewhere to eat your lunch whether it’s outside or another room, as long as it’s not at the desk.”

Her other tips include doing half the housework before you start work so you’re not lured back to it throughout the day; keeping a diary to record your breaks so you can review them; and ensure you are scheduling ample micro-breaks to recharge.

“Block out time in your calendar for a cup of tea, the same way you would block out time for projects and meetings,” she says.

For many, a reassuring cup of tea is the ultimate micro-break circuit breaker. Founders of luxury Australian made tea label, Monista Tea Co., advise looking for blends that can stimulate your brain, remove stress or lift your mood. 

“Start the day with an anti-oxidant rich black tea with a bold, well rounded flavour,” say Monista Tea founders, Christa White and Monique McCutchen. 

“The anti-oxidants slow the absorption of caffeine give you a sustained period of mental alertness. And consider making a pot of tea instead of dangling a tea bag into a mug.  This quiet, five-minute ritual can be an ideal mental circuit breaker before moving to the next work task.

Once you’ve finished your pot of loose-leaf tea, head out into the garden and pour the cooled tea and leaves onto the soil.  Not only will this give you an excuse to go outside, but your plants will thrive from the nitrogen rich leaves,”

For a mid-afternoon freshen-up, they recommend a Persian Mint Tea blend as it’s natural caffeine won’t interfere with a night’s sleep,  “Try it with a piece of dark chocolate for a match made in heaven!” they temptingly suggest.

And to finish the day, they recommend a soothing pot of camomile. “It is ultra-calming and the perfect reward for a busy day of multi-tasking,” they say.

So, back to work everyone. But first, can you believe little brother Bronson from Round the Twist has since hotfooted it to Hollywood, and even flexed his muscles as a director on Modern Family. How strange things happen... are you going round the twist?


Anna Byrne grew up in Bendigo in regional Victoria before moving to Melbourne where she enjoyed a decade-long career as a columnist for the Herald Sun, becoming one of Australia’s most recognised lifestyle voices. Renowned for her insightful and humorous musings on the world of fashion and beyond, her take on style is both witty and refreshingly non-elitist. Anna loves musicals, McLaren Vale Chardonnay, the Melbourne footy club and can quote Muriel’s Wedding, verbatim. A passionate campaigner for small business, Anna is excited to join Buy Aussie Now as a freelance contributor. 

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