Work / Life Ecologies

The Work / Life Ecologies Project aims to understand staff and students’ broader lifestyles as part of a work-life ecology, occurring a cross a range of spaces, both physical and virtual. In using the term work-life ecology, rather than the more common term ‘work-life balance’, we argue that these two realms have become interrelated in contemporary society. The opportunities for these domains to infiltrate each other are increasing, be it through attending to email after hours, or through flexible work arrangements.

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  • DERC’s Co-Director Tania Lewis has published a report for ACCAN with colleagues on the phenomenon of the E-changer: digitally enabled sea / tree-changers who have moved to the country while holding on to their day jobs in the city.

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  • The coronavirus pandemic has fundamentally changed the way people are meeting performing work in a very short time-frame. With many conferences and meetings cancelled or postponed, how will we continue connect with other people when travel and physical proximity aren’t possible?

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  • One of the key findings of the Work Life Ecologies Project is that academic collaboration often entails physical co-presence, and that this is one of the main reasons academics undertake air travel. This aligns with research into business travel more generally, as professionals often use air travel to meet partners and clients.

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  • Bhavna Middha, one of the recipients of the Sustainable Urban Precinct Program’s PhD scholarship, as a part of its work-life ecologies project, has recently completed and passed her PhD examination with flying colours.

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  • In our research on academic air travel, we learned that one of the main reasons academics go to conferences is for the opportunity to interact with other academics in an informal setting. Academics commonly cited the conversations they have during conference breaks and meals as being particularly beneficial for professional and personal networking. But given that eating meals is such an embodied and material experience, what would it look like to experience that remotely? Can we really eat a meal with someone on the opposite side of the world in the same way as though they were sitting next to us?

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