This far into the pandemic, I think it’s safe to say many of us have learnt that there’s value in setting up a “proper” workspace at home (if you’re able to).
If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably spent many an evening ironing out the kinks in your back and shoulders because your cheapo chair offers near to no support.
Or perhaps, you experienced hours of discomfort because your desk was too small and left your laptop screen almost pushed up against your nose all day. I’m exaggerating, but you get the picture.
Working from poorly set up office spaces is not just uncomfortable, it can leave your body feeling all kinds of messed up. So, when I was given the opportunity to review a couple of particularly well-designed pieces of office furniture from Koala, I jumped at the chance.
For this Real Life Reviews update, I’m looking at the Workmate Home Office Desk and Virtue Office Chair which are part of Koala‘s new office furniture collection.
Before we get into the good stuff, here’s a summary of both pieces. The Workmate Home Office Desk is made from FSC Certified timber, it comes in a Natural Ash finish and if you’re after dimensions they are: L 120cm x W 60cm x H 75cm.
The Virtue Office Chair is a grey, fabric office chair designed with wraparound support for your bod. Dimensions for this baby are: L 62cm x W 77cm x H 99-106.5cm.
I’ve lived with these items for about two weeks, and this has been my experience.
First thing’s first. Both pieces of furniture were incredibly easy to assemble. I’ve built a lot of furniture in the last year (I moved) and these two gave me the least stressful experience, by far.
I was done with both in about 40 minutes. The only tricky parts were removing the plastic from the gas lift lever, and getting that gas lever to start moving – but these were momentary pauses.
Once assembled, it’s clear that every element of both of these pieces has been thoughtfully designed. Especially when it comes to the desk.
From the grooves to prop up your phone or tablet, to cable organisation trays and a hanger on the side of the desk ready for your headphones or bag, the design of this desk makes it that much easier to keep your space organised.
When it comes to sizing, I was pleasantly surprised at how neatly this pairing fit into my (quite small) apartment.
I was worried they’d swallow up the space, but I haven’t experienced any issues. And the desk is easily double the size of the table I was working off before so I have all the room I need for office supplies now.
The desk drawer is also deceptively deep, with an easy-to-access shallow lip where I leave things like pens and coffee loyalty cards.
Rolling on over to the chair, I have to say this is a huge upgrade from my last office chair which literally had screws falling out of it (sad, I know). The Virtue chair hugs your body, and the recline function makes stretching out after a long meeting as easy as tipping backwards.
The design style of both desk and chair here are also incredibly chic, so they easily blend into an open plan space, like mine, without screaming “serious work area”.
The pricing also feels pretty reasonable for these two. The Workmate Home Office Desk will set you back $540 and the Virtue Office Chair is $290. Not cheap, but for a couple of *nice* pieces of furniture, it isn’t bad.
What’s not so good?
This seems like a bit of a reach, because I’ve had a generally really positive experience, but the delivery part was a little laborious. Getting both of these ginormous boxes into my apartment on my own was a mission. Keep that in mind if you’re setting this up alone.
I do also find that having the drawer running across the length of the desk means I need to get up and move the chair away to fully access what I’ve popped into the drawer.
The last point – and I’m nitpicking – there’s a tiny delay in the gas lift function when adjusting the seat height to make it lower – I sometimes need to shimmy to get it to move.
The Workmate Home Office Desk and Virtue Office Chair from Koala are both expertly-designed, and beautifully constructed pieces of furniture that make working from home look and feel damn good.
They quite literally elevated my home office to one that I am comfortable using for hours at a time. Which, considering I’m part of Sydney’s recent lockdowns, is a pretty excellent thing.
It’s worth noting that Koala is slinging some pretty sweet deals for their EOFY sale at the moment with up to 25 per cent off furniture items. Unfortunately, these items don’t appear to be included but the WFH Desk is 15 per cent off now at $340 for the full size and $255 for the kids’ version.