Still Not Used to Working from Home?

It may have started as a bit of a novelty, but working from home for long periods of time can start to affect our mental health. Just as it is important to look after physical health during the outbreak of Novel Coronavirus, it's also important to keep on top of how you are feeling.

Some common feelings you might be experiencing are:

  • Feeling isolated, lonely, or disconnected from other people - socially and professionally
  • Being unable to 'switch off from work'
  • Having difficulty staying motivated
  • Having difficulty prioritising your workload
  • Feeling uncertain about your progress, and whether you're performing ok
  • Insomnia and sleep problems

To help combat this, here are some tips to protect your mental health when working from home.

Set up routine and structure for your workday -- create boundaries between 'work time' and 'home time'

Set a routine as if you are going into the office, with a regular start time, and finish time, and a structure for your day, with breaks and exercise scheduled in. This will help you maintain a strong boundary between work and home life, minimise the possibility of work intruding into your family time, and help you switch off from work at the end of the day. Creating cues, such as getting changed into your work clothes at the start of the day, and out at the end, can help with this.

Create a specific place in your home where you work (avoid your bedroom)

Studies show that working from home can interfere with sleep, especially for people who find it difficult to switch off from work. Avoid working in your bedroom if possible. It will then become associated with being alert, awake, and switched on.

Stay connected with co-workers and your manager by scheduling regular virtual or phone meetings

Because everyday encounters with colleagues don't spontaneously happen when we're working from home, we need to be proactive in organising meetings and social connections to maintain positive relationships. Staying connected with others will help to reduce stress levels, help you feel less isolated, and stay productive. It also helps you communicate with your manager or employees to keep them informed of what you're working on.

Try a digital detox in the evenings

Technology makes it easier to stay connected 24-7, but the downside is that it can make it difficult to switch off, and separate work and home life. Try a digital detox to help you switch off from work, so you can spend quality time with your family, or do the things you want to do.

Try and get outside at least once a day

If you're not stuck in self-isolation, try to get outside at least once a day. Go for a walk, get some fresh air, and sunshine. If you are in isolation, go out to your garden or walk up and down your driveway or go out onto your balcony and enjoy the fresh air.

Focus on the silver linings

Working from home can have many benefits. It can improve productivity, reduce distractions, reduce stress, improve work satisfaction, lower the time (and cost) you spend commuting, give you a greater sense of control over your workday, and can even help to avoid challenging colleagues!

Source: Black Dog Institute

Update from Teachers Mutual Bank

Recently the Bank proposed an update to the Common Bond - Natural Persons in the Bank's Constitution.

The proposed update was to better position our membership criteria to support the education, emergency services and healthcare sectors across Australia.
The resolution was passed with 92% of votes received being in favour.

What the changes involve?

An exciting change for the third-party channel and their division Firefighters Mutual Bank, is the addition of volunteers in the emergency services sector who are now eligible for membership of the Bank. This includes all volunteer firefighters and state emergency services workers Australia wide.

Overall, the membership criteria for each division Firefighters Mutual Bank, Health Professionals Bank, Teachers Mutual Bank, and UniBank has been simplified. The Board strongly believes this is a positive outcome for our members. Not only does it support the long-term sustainability of the Bank, it means we are better positioned to support the education, emergency services and healthcare sectors across Australia.

To view the Bank's Constitution in full click here.

What's being updated?

A revised Application for membership form is now available on:

COVID-19 Impact Continues

The economic slowdown resultant from COVID-19 has changed working conditions for many. But quantifying the impact on labour markets at this stage is difficult.

The latest unemployment data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics does not tell us much about how the labour market has changed. That is because labour market data is not real-time, but instead references the first two weeks of the previous month to the data release date.

The start of the economic slowdown was not felt until halfway through March 2020, meaning unless the survey methods are altered, regular labour force data will not show an impact until the May edition.

However, there are some things we already know about Australia's labour force that provides insight into how property markets may be particularly affected.

Many workers are having their hours reduced

On April 7th, the ABS released new survey results on the impact of COVID-19 on businesses. Approximately 1,200 business representatives responded, revealing changes that had been made to the workforce.

Of the actively trading businesses surveyed, about a quarter reported reducing staff hours over the past few weeks. A summary of businesses reporting reduced staff hours by size and industry is presented below. Further insights from the survey can be found here.

Reduced staff working hours is an early response business typically adopt during a downturn, with a view to preserving jobs.

Food and accommodation is more precarious for both housing and employment

When governments rolled out international travel restrictions, closed state borders and banned unnecessary travel as well as closing pubs, restaurants and casinos along with a variety of other facilities it was clear that the tourism and hospitality sectors would be some of the hardest-hit sectors.

However, it is still striking that 70% of food and accommodation employers reported a reduction in staff hours. Food and accommodation employ about 8% of the workforce or about 1.2 million people.

This is where a more granular view of employment data can highlight risks to the property market. The detailed quarterly survey data provides insight into what industry residents work in, at the SA4 level.

The February edition suggests that most food and accommodation workers are highly concentrated in Sydney's Inner West, followed by the Sunshine Coast and the Coffs Harbour-Grafton region. The risk to demand-side factors for a property is particularly susceptible in areas of high employment in food and accommodation, as the sector typically has more 'precarious' work arrangements. About 62% of those employed in the sector are employed on a part-time basis, compared with the broader workforce, where 32% of staff are employed part-time.

Interestingly, some of these areas also have more precarious housing arrangements, with higher portions of rental housing than ownership. In Sydney's Inner West, 35.4% of households are estimated to be renting households, as opposed to 31% nationally. This means that lesser hours in food and accommodation services may affect property values indirectly, because value estimates may be reconsidered based on rental return.

For Hobart, where 9.3% of the population are employed in food and accommodation, the CoreLogic home value index shows there has already been a drop in dwelling values, of -0.2% in March.

However, it is worth noting that the Hobart market was arguably due for correction even before the onset of COVID-19, having seen annualised capital growth of 7.7% each year for the past 5 years to March 2020.

Therefore, even though high concentrations of food and accommodation employment are indicative of greater risk to the property market, ongoing assessment of price and employment shifts will be necessary to isolate the full impact of COVID-19 on values.

Source: CoreLogic

Judo Bank's Broker Hardship Response

Judo Bank has begun providing repayment relief to customers already experiencing hardship and will continue to monitor during this challenging period. They are taking a common sense approach to each customer's circumstances and in most cases are applying a 3mth repayment holiday, with their position to be reviewed upon maturity. They will also continue to pay broker trail commission during the relief period.
Judo is also working with the Government on the $250k stimulus package and further details will be provided in due course.
Judo will be offering the Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme to assist brokers and their business customers continue to operate their business. Please see details below and note Judo Bank will be paying all brokers 0.30% Trail on the facility.

What are the rules of the scheme?

Loans of up to $250,000 per borrower (ABN) for a maximum period of 3 years with a 6 month repayment holiday
The product offered by Judo will be a 6-month Line of Credit facility converting to a Business Loan - Variable P&I for the remaining term
The government guarantees 50% of the loan. Director(s) guarantees will also be required for the total loan amount. No further collateral required by Judo for the duration of the SME Guarantee loan
Eligible customers must have a turnover of less than $50m per year (includes self-employed and not-for-profit organisations)
Loans must be for business purposes only and cannot be used to refinance drawn facilities (with Judo or any other lender)
The product is available to both new and existing customers and will be assessed on a case by case basis

Is this a pre-approved loan?

No, approval is subject to Judo's credit process as is any other facility

My customer needs more than $250.000, does this mean he cannot access this loan?

Any loan above $250,000 will not fall under the scheme and therefore no government guarantee will apply

Can a closed business apply for this loan?

Yes, provided the business was trading profitably prior to the shutdown and is anticipated to re-emerge after the shutdown with an ability to service debt

What is the interest rate and fees charged?

No application/establishment fee will be charged to the customer on this loan
The interest rate will be between 5.2%-6.4% all up rate
The documentation fee is estimated to be between $500 and $750

Will brokers be remunerated?

Absolutely. Trail payment of 0.30% (only) will be payable on drawn balance. Speak to your Director, Third Party for more information

RESI Flexi-Rates from 2.39%!

We are proud to announce that we have reviewed and reduced our RESI Flexi Options rate across the board! Our variable rates start at 2.77% and our fixed start from 2.39%. all our loans, fixed or variable, have the option of linking a 100% offset account for just $10/pm.

We are proud to announce that we have reviewed and reduced our RESI Flexi Options rate across the board! Our variable rates start at 2.77% and our fixed start from 2.39%. all our loans, fixed or variable, have the option of linking a 100% offset account for just $10/pm.

Please contact your National Business Manager, Tony Wakim on 0416 409 100 or for all your scenarios.

*WARNING: This comparison rate is true only for the examples given and may not include all fees and charges. Different terms, fees or other loan amounts might result in a different comparison rate.