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The water cooler has missed you


“With the return of my commute I got back into reading and listening to podcasts (one of my favourite hobbies) and enjoyed seeing my fellow grads and hearing about their own learning experiences.” 


Amelia (bottom right) with her fellow grads in the ANZ office

The idea of working from home is very romantic: time to sleep in a little longer, no rush for the bus, access to an endless stream of snacks in the kitchen cupboard.


During a time of incredible social and economic volatility, being able to continue to work comfortably and safely from home is a unique opportunity not to be squandered. But for me, the novelty of working from home wore off very quickly.


Having started at ANZ in February 2020 as part of the Graduate Program, I managed to spend a total of four weeks in the office before we were told to pack up our desks and WFH (work from home – the acronym of 2020?) from mid-March.                                                                                     


I was already on a steep learning curve. I was in a brand new role as a graduate analyst in Research & Analysis, which is a brand new field to me and the learning curve suddenly got even steeper. Connecting with new colleagues got harder and the opportunity to familiarise and settle into a new environment went out the window. It also posed the question: was this what the rest of my professional career was going to look like?


However, the experience of working from home for those long six months also taught me a lot about the way I work, how I am most effective and how I get the most fulfilment out of my role.


It also highlighted what I value, reinforced the importance of connection, and magnified my good and bad habits. With all of those lessons I knew returning to the office was not only the right choice for me but something I wanted to do as soon as I was able to in a safe manner.



In August, Sydney began to ease restrictions and I jumped at the opportunity to start working again from the office. While initially unsettled by how quiet the CBD was and how few people were in the workplace, I found the experience of being able to resume a typical pre-COVID working day from the office hugely positive from the get-go.


With the return of my commute I got back into reading and listening to podcasts (one of my favourite hobbies) and enjoyed seeing my fellow grads and hearing about their own learning experiences. It also allowed me to develop a greater sense of calm in being able to physically separate my work life and my home life.


Towards the end of the year, more and more people were working from the office. Soon enough, I was back to making new connections and having water-cooler chats - at a safe physical distance of course - with people I would never have come across if I had continued to work from home.

For Amelia, working from home for many long months reinforced the value of connecting with other people.


While working from the office was not the same experience I had for those four weeks from mid-February, having the opportunity to return to working from the office at the end of 2020 has been incredibly uplifting and an encouraging precursor to the new year.

Working from home also helped me figure out why I love working from the office so much. You’re constantly learning, connecting with new people, and maintaining a healthy work-life-balance.


From my perspective, an approach to work that blends the positive aspects of working from home with the benefits of being part of a healthy, connected workplace is the way of the future for personal prosperity - to the advantage of the business and ultimately our customers.



ANZ is embracing what we’ve learnt during the pandemic about where work can be done, and is using that to evolve how we’ll work at ANZ on an ongoing basis - once COVID workplace related restrictions are lifted.


Amelia’s role is considered ‘blended’ which means she is able to split her time working from her ANZ workplace and working remotely.




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