Emergent time-spaces of working from home: Lessons from pandemic geographies

Publication Name

Geographical Research


The COVID-19 pandemic and consequent health regulations compelled office-based knowledge workers to work from home (WFH) en masse. Government and employer directives to WFH disrupted common norms of commuting to city office spaces and reshaped the geographies of office-based knowledge work, with potentially lasting implications. Pandemic-induced cohabitation of work-space and home-space saw more workers navigating the performance of paid labour in the home to produce new relational geographies of home, work, and worker. This paper provides a window on the lived experiences of the sizeable cohort of office-based knowledge workers displaced from Sydney’s CBD to undertake WFH in the Illawarra region during the pandemic. We explore the unfolding pandemic geographies of work and home by drawing together feminist economic geography and geographies of home literatures. Our analysis reveals the emergent and variegated time-spaces of WFH that emerged as the rhythms and routines of WFH shaped the home and vice versa. The analysis also reveals the differentiated agency of embodied workers to orchestrate emergent configurations of WFH, shaped by gender and by the socio-materialities of home shaped by size, tenure, and life-cycle stage. We conclude by drawing out important lines of analysis for further research as “hybrid work” evidently becomes entrenched post-COVID.

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