SUDDENLY HOME Ten things you need to know about working at home, from someone who’s been doing it for decades.

For thousands of Canadians sent home to work, the coming weeks – or months – could be the most challenging of their working lives. For most, working at home is going to feel like living in a foreign country.

I am a 52 year-old freelance journalist and author and have spent exactly six months of my 27-year career working in an office that someone else was paying for.

The rest of the time, I’ve been setting up and tearing down workspaces – at least 15, in as many apartments and houses, in the four cities and three countries where I’ve worked.

Two days ago I got an email from a rattled editor in Montreal who was struggling to get a day of work done with her children at home. I realized my experience working from home for the last 27 years would be useful for her and a lot of other people at the moment.

Over the next week I’ll post a series of short texts with advice about how to make your home workspace work.

I’m no organizing genius à la Marie Kondo, but like her, I would boil the home office down to a simple principle: not “spark joy,” but “get concentration.” From the choice of a space to what you put in it, working at home is all about cutting out distractions and the distracting temptations of domestic life.

Even without kids these are great, so imagine.

Although there’s not much to feel good about at the moment, in this period of collective isolation I do feel fortunate in one way. I’ve had decades to figure out how to make a home office work – and make sure life carries on while eating, sleeping, working and playing within the same four walls.

In the next ten posts, I’ll take my best shot at sharing a lifetime of learning (as well as the occasional insight from my husband, also a writer) about how how to make working at home, well, work.

I hope it will help everyone make the best of an unwanted situation.

And feel free to write to me with questions. I’m not going anywhere…

All the best in these tough times,