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Koala says demand for its limited-edition work from home desk has 'exceeded expectations'

Sharon Masige

Aussie furniture brand Koala has a new work-from-home desk.

The company released limited-edition work from home desks which come with cable management slots, a device stand and a hanger. Better yet, it doesn't need any tools to set up and you can set it up in four minutes.

The desk also comes with Koala's free express delivery, 120-night trial and 5-year warranty offers.

Koala Chief Marketing Officer Peter Sloterdyk told Business Insider Australia the demand for the desk has already been positive. "It is exceeding our expectations," he said.

Sloterdyk also described the desk's compact size, as it can be folded up and slid under a sofa or in a wardrobe if you want to pack it away during the weekend.

"It is just big enough for a laptop computer, a monitor, and for you to have room for a sketchbook or a notepad," Sloterdyk said. "It's covering just enough space for you to have a successful work area, but it's not oversized."

The idea for these new desks came as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, with more Australians having to work from home

Sloterdyk said the idea was spawned by conversations both in person and through social media of the issues people were struggling with as they adjusted to remote work. Sloterdyk mentioned people complaining about things like their dining table not being suitable for work or getting backaches from working while in bed or on the couch.

The desks were designed and manufactured in Australia, which the company blitzing through its usually 18 to 24 month-long product design and development process to get them made.

Koala product designer Adam Harrigan told Business Insider Austalia via email that the coronavirus isolation created a massive need that the company wanted to solve quickly.

"Looking at what was currently in the market, I thought we could do something that addressed small space concerns and also something that looked good," he said.

"Something that was really fast to put together and just as fast to pack up so you could have a clear space on the weekends. I wanted it to feel like an OG Koala product. Solid plywood, exposed edges, playful curves, simple so it can work in any interior."

Sloterdyk said the coronavirus has caused people to think more closely about their home decor and look at things they want to improve – anything from switching up their sofa or getting a new mattress to improve their sleep.

And as a result, the company has been seeing a rise in demand for products across its range.

"I wouldn't say that there's high demand for any one particular product but we have seen an increased demand for all of our products – everything from bedding to mattresses to the bed base," he said. "And then you start going to the living room and you're talking about sofas [and] sofa beds."

How Koala has adjusted to working from home

Most of Koala's staff members are now working remotely, with the company having to cut local and international travel and cancel many of its community events due to the coronavirus pandemic. Nonetheless, it has been able to keep its transport and logistics services going.

"We've been really lucky that our supply chain and logistics and our ability to deliver furniture really quickly – to maintain our four-hour window – all of that is still intact," Sloterdyk said.

Internally, Sloterdyk added that it was a big adjustment for the company to start working from home.

"Everybody has really stepped up to the plate," he said. "We've all done what we need to really show up and be very supportive of one another."

He added that Koala has spent a lot of time talking about the mental health aspects during the pandemic, especially when it comes to the work from home environment. The company encourages its workers to stick to office hours, rather than being tempted to work longer since they're already at home.

"Just because you're working from home and your environment didn't change, doesn't mean you need to keep working past your normal time," Sloterdyk said. "I think that's a big part of the mental health aspect of taking care of our team members and making sure that everyone's getting the balance that they need to really succeed in this uncomfortable and crazy time."

While Sloterdyk didn't give precise details, he said Koala has more new products up its sleeve which it will be launching throughout the year.

"We've got a really exciting year ahead of us," he said. "Starting in July with the new fiscal year, we've got some incredible things in the product pipeline."