What does working at home look like for you?

The world may be slowly trickling back into the workplace, but for many of us, work continues from home. Those lucky enough to have a dedicated office or a pre-established workplace may have made a near-seamless transition, but what about those of us who are new to this working from home gig?

I work out of our dining room. (We only have one office, which my husband uses while he’s working from home.) Essentials include good coffee I can make myself (since I can’t get my fix of takeout coffee with the green siren on the cup), an abundance of snacks, lipstick and a hairbrush for Zoom calls, and good headphones. I recently acquired a FluidStance Plane Cloud balance board that I can stand on while I read or work at my computer. This has been the life changer, as it keeps me alert when I’m sifting through particularly dry material.

FluidStance balance board. Keeps the author from falling asleep at her desk.

What does your work space look like? We asked some of our friends and readers what working from home looks like for them, what their essentials are, and what they just can’t live without. Here’s what they had to say:

I switch between my home office and the dining room. (I use) my rower for cardio breaks, and so much coffee.” – Nathan Hauch

Craig Smith’s cat, Jason, keeps him company while he works from home.

Coffee, my cat, Jason, and the couch. I work for myself and find the couch more comfortable. I’m in and out of various projects all day and then you end up waiting on content or answers, so the couch is great. – Craig Smith, owner and creative director, Strike It Up Design

A decent office chair, a bit of sunlight, TV. – Joanna Lavoie, journalist     

Basic desk, office chair, as well as a comfy chair to move to when my back is getting tired, extra monitor, and mouse, work laptop. – Matt Flower, guru, Shopify

I switch between den/office – kitchen island and couch or chair in living room. Daily walk is essential. Missing spin class. – Paul Dombowsky, senior business analyst, National Capital Commission 

My home office is in transition. Adding a microwave (and) a water cooler. – Mike Carroccetto, photojournalist

Pat Johnson in his studio at home.

I’ve been hunkered down in my studio since the middle of March.  Most of my students have been happy to continue online via FaceTime, Skype, Zoom, etc. The rest of the time I spend practicing and working on the next album. – Patrick Johnson, musician

Tea. Classical or ambient music. Noise cancelling headphones. A sot chair. – Mandi Lunan, entrepreneur

A printer! Which was a Covid purchase! Mostly because I have a hard time editing/proofing from a screen. I set up my work station on the main floor so I can keep an eye on the kiddos. – Catherine Tong, researcher and instructor, University of Waterloo

My home office is a desk in the nook in the living room. I am going to set up a new office in the basement soon. – Kendra Ker Brown, Manulife

My husband always works from home and we have a toddler so I have to work in our bedroom (was working in bed for first couple weeks and then bought a desk). Except when M naps and I move to the dining table or basement. – Danielle Milley, Toronto Hydro

Harry Hodge teaches his students from home.

I was teaching online to Chinese students (while living in Vietnam) for side cash as far back as two years ago. Once the outbreak shuttered my school, I was on half-pay but took on more online classes (with a different company). Then my school organized Zoom classes and I was on full pay teaching my regular students. It gets annoying staying seated for 4-5 hours at a time teaching, I move the laptop up and down between classes. We had three different computers going as well. We also moved my desk to the dining room (slash-kitchen/slash-living room) because the Wifi was better than our bedroom. But then my kids kept wandering over to see what I was teaching. – Harry Hodge, teacher

Due to Covid I had to let go of my outside office and now working from home. I had to create an office that is pretty and functional because I am not as productive otherwise. Some challenges being home that is for sure. – Kathy McEwan, owner, Second Set of Hands

I have been “kicked out” of the basement office because I have too many meetings in a day which is a “disturbance” to (my partner) who is also trying to focus at work. I have not been back in my basement office for more than a month. Dinner table and chair is now my office. – Kaye Kwok, Bank of Canada

I coincidentally bought a new desk just before COVID started in Ottawa and spent far too much money on office supplies. It was definitely the best investment I could have made and has really come in handy! – Charlie Senack, journalist

Both my wife and I are now working from home. Both of us computer nerds and one would think, entering our space, we’re hard core hackers with all the monitors, laptops, ipads and cellphones! It’s been really awesome working together even though we’re pretty much in our own digital universes most of the day! – Steve Gerecke

We have a home office where I work. Brought my monitors and docking station home from work, so now have the same setup. Company has provided $250 towards office equipment (chair, desk, etc.) for anyone who needs it. We also have available either $500 or GoodLife membership for physical fitness. As our corporate renewal was April 1, it wasn’t renewed, so we’ve been encouraged to purchase any physical fitness equipment we want. – John Hartleib, software developer, Canadian Internet Registry Authority

This is John King’s makeshift office.

Have spent hundreds on live streaming gear to move classes onlineand yet my actual desk is a Rubbermaid bin. – John King, founder, Monkey Rock Music