Fresh air, great coffee, sunshine above and grass beneath your feet – sounds like a relaxing way to spend the weekend, but some Canberrans are making it their workday. A new initiative is inviting Canberrans to switch their indoor home office for a desk in Haig Park.
Braddon-based co-working space Good Work Canberra and the City Renewal Authority are co-ordinating Outside Offices, a collaborative workspace in Haig Park. The space hosts individual desks for up to 25 people, a relaxation space, and a communal table for distanced meetings.
“Working at the Outdoor Office was one of my most productive days since lockdown began. It was wonderful to be able to enjoy the park and fresh air while accessing all the conveniences of an indoor office,” says Outdoor Offices participant Sherri Ward.
With Lonsdale Street nearby, Outdoor Offices participant Jasper Penfold-Low enjoys the ability to take more meaningful breaks from working.
“I feel enticed to work around the silence of the trees and tranquillity of beanbags. When tranquillity turns to distraction, I can have an energising stroll to get some locally sourced and brewed coffee by Braddon’s finest.”
The park also offers a middle ground between working with family and co-workers.
“There’s no office politics because there’s no competition. You can opt-in or out of social events as you please without worrying about any bosses thinking you’re not a company person,” says Mitch Tilbrook from Good Work Canberra.
“Since the pandemic, I’ve noticed that some people love no separation between home and office, and some people loathe it. The latter will seek out a space to work from if their employer does not offer them one,” says Mr Tilbrook.
The offices are a small part of Haig Park’s dramatic transformation which now hosts weekly markets, monthly PAWS Parties (for dogs and people), and a monthly Play Outside Day for the whole family.
Mr Tilbrook says participants are invited to donate to a charity organisation when they book their tickets in lieu of fees for this project. The chosen charity is Orange Sky Laundry which provides a regular laundry and shower service to homeless people. It focuses on creating a safe, positive and supportive environment for people often ignored or disconnected from the broader community.
“Canberrans showed how generous and kind they are through the latest lockdown, and I want to encourage that benevolence and charitable actions to be in the front of all our minds as we return to our normal lives,” Mr Tilbrook says.
“I see a lot of homelessness here in Canberra, and unfortunately, it’s not an issue that will ever be fixed, in my opinion. Orange Sky Laundry isn’t aiming to fix the problem but offers services that can help people who need it most, with dignity and respect, which is vitally important to a person’s mental health.”
To book your ‘office’ in Haig Park, visit Good Work Canberra.