Where to work when working from home

I’ve been working from home for close to a year now, due to the pandemic. One of the most surprising things that I soon discovered was the challenge of maintaining work-life balance. Although that didn’t seem very logical: I’m home full-time after all, so work-life balance should be a no-brainer. Not so much. Part of the work-life equation was figuring out where in the house would be the best place to work. This was best solved by trying out various locations. At first, I was taking my laptop to different rooms, exploring the flexibility that working from home (WFH) offered: on the couch in front of the TV, at the dining room table, on the back deck when the weather was nice. I was grateful to have options.

The settled-upon home workspace

But here’s the thing: the lines between work life and personal life are definitely blurred now, and this is a major theme of WFH that I and many others have discovered. And this includes our physical space. I realized that, for the sake of my mental health, it was important to find ways to keep “the office” and home as separate as much as possible.

The other workspace I sometimes used was a desk off of the kitchen, which a couple months ago, I decided to make this location my designated workspace. It’s not perfect, but it’s the most “office-like” and thus the best option. Although, I do end up wandering to other workspaces from time to time just to break up the routine ever so slightly. But for the most part, it’s important for me to not blur the lines any further than they already are! What has been your WFH workspace strategy?

The Power of the Reset Button

I’m a tennis enthusiast and a big fan of certain professional players, for not only their talent on the court, but also for the example they are off the court. Sir Andy Murray is a vocal advocate of gender equality, mental health, and climate change awareness. The G.O.A.T Serena Williams is someone I also look up to for her authenticity, commitment, and sheer determination over a 25-year (and counting) professional tennis career.

I’m also a fan of Stan Wawrinka, who has managed to win a few Grand Slams in the Federer-Nadal era. After an early loss to a lower-ranked player in this year’s Australian Open, a match that he was an inch from winning, he posted this to his Instagram soon after. After an initial chuckle, I was then able to see the deeper value. Think about it: these players commit to long arduous hours of practice and physical conditioning to prepare for these tournaments, and after what I’m sure was a heartbreaking loss, he was able to bounce back and hit the reset button, with a good sense of humor about it, to boot. It goes to show how mentally tough these players have to be, not only during a match but also right after, knowing that tomorrow is another day and another chance to produce a better result. For me, it’s a great reminder that we’re all human and will fail on occasion, but to view failure with a sort of gratitude because it’s an opportunity to learn from past mistakes, above all else.

I feel that a positive attitude is rooted in gratitude anyway – for Stan, I’m sure he’s thankful to be able to compete at a high level, especially in light of the long climb back up the rankings after a knee injury. Being able to move past failure and hit the reset button is admittedly easier when we can look at it from a place of gratitude, and see all the good things we have in our lives, both big and small. Personal and professional setbacks are a part of life. It’s how we view and react to these defeats that help determine future victories.