For Sophie Cleland, long days online are balanced by daily rituals and a work space made happy through colour, texture, pot plants and a dedicated reading nook.

My working-from-home space is in an alcove off to the side of the living area. Surrounded by bookshelves and opposite a big window, my home office feels comfortable and productive. I have added a few touches like a plant in one of my favourite Italian pots. I have a special work coffee mug that is only for when I am “at work”. There is lots of colour and texture, which makes the space a happy one. The set up was already arranged, but I have created a reading nook just behind me to the side, so I can take a break from being at the desk to review reports or research.

I am a Principal at Architectus, leading the public sector projects in Melbourne, and much of my day is spent on teams, zoom and phone calls. I am able to do all I need from here but I am a people culture person, so I will be happy to be back in the office. I have always worked remotely from time to time and imagine I will continue to do so into the future.

Housework seems to happen at different times and better integrates into the day. I cook a lot more with the kitchen being metres away and not arriving home late. I’m also enjoying looking after my indoor plants during the day as a break. They are benefiting from more attention. Painting and gardening are some of my favourite things to do.

The technology support I have has been fantastic. I do recommend using the video setting in conference calls as seeing people’s faces makes a huge difference to how we communicate. It also means I can see how people are going if they are perhaps feeling alone and I can see if they need support.

I would still say I am working long days. This isn’t new to those that know me. I like to work! But I am constructing a more firm routine for myself to ensure I am having downtime. Things like morning coffee rituals at the local shop, and evening walks now have a special significance. I hadn’t identified my day-to-day life as being something more than ordinary but now I can see this from a new perspective.

Catching up digitally with family and friends is really important. Life seems less spontaneous currently so you have to ensure you are scheduling regular catch-ups.

Sophie Cleland is a Principal of Architectus, based in Melbourne. She is motivated by engaging with communities through architecture. She has worked at many scales, including on institutional, public realm, urban and regional projects, and has developed the skills to deliver award-winning complex projects in challenging environments.