Welcome to the Workspace Series—glimpses into the offices, desks, and other work and play environments of our Forum members and the TOM BIHN crew.
Forum name: sujo
What do you do? (If it's your professional workspace, what's your job; if it's your hobby workspace, what's your hobby?)
I am a proposal specialist for a government contractor. I manage small proposals and provide support to larger proposals, such as writing and coordinating. In October, my office space closed, so I now work remotely. I travel several times a year for work, mainly to my company’s offices in Virginia and Maryland. Those trips can be from a week to two months, depending on the proposal.
What sorts of things went into the planning of your workspace?
I live in a small one-bedroom apartment with my husband, which makes space for an office difficult. We had to decide on a location that would not be high-traffic and would be comfortable enough to work all day. We found a small desk at World Market that fit nicely in a corner of the living room and with enough surface space to hold my 17-inch Apple Cinema Display, Dell laptop on a docking station, full-size Apple keyboard, and Logitech wireless mouse. It’s a two-tier set up with monitor and docking station on the top level and keyboard and mouse on the bottom. Brian, my Tom Bihn Brain Bag, sits beside me, holding pens, notebooks and other work necessities. We recently added a four-drawer cabinet to help keep my work surface clean.
The chair is wood. I sit on a cushion with another cushion for a backrest. It doesn’t roll well on carpet, but once I get it at a comfortable distance from the desk, I need only turn left or right to get in/out of the space. I use my portable travel stool to rest my feet and keep them at a comfortable height (because I’m short).
To some, the space may look cramped but it is actually very comfortable. The area is well lit with natural light, out of the way, and easy to access. The keyboard/desktop surface is on rails, so I can push it in when not in use and pull it out to work. The desktop comes to me. I was very glad the docking station fit because it is a great use of space as it gives me a small area to store notepads and such underneath the laptop. It also allows me to open the laptop for use as a second monitor, if needed.
Because I mainly write, read, and edit, working remotely was not a difficult transition. I very seldom print anything anymore, so a small desk space works fine. I also seem to get more work done now than I did in the office. Less distractions, I guess.
What are some of the important items/tools in or aspects of your workspace?
My most important tool is Brian, my trusty Brain Bag companion. Brian sits beside me throughout each work day, holding all my work-related items (stored in the back compartment). The main item I use is an Olive Small Double Organizer Pouch, attached to the o-ring with a Solar 8-inch Key Strap. This holds two USB drives to store work documents and such, my iPhone 4S charger, and cleaning clothes for my glasses and phone. I use this pouch the most. Next comes the Freudian Slip. It holds my small Moleskine notebook, assorted colors of G-2 pens and highlighters, the few paper documents I need, an optical drive (as my laptop does not write CDs), lip balm, gum, spare glasses, and my Cisco softphone headphones. I use a Wasabi 3D Fabric Organizer Cube to hold my computer charger and spare wireless mouse. The item I use least is a Conifer Small Cordura Organizer Pouch holding a Cayenne Mini Organizer Pouch for first aid, mirror, screen wipes, magnifying glass, and other items. This is attached to the same o-ring with an Iberian 8-inch Key Strap. A Vertical 4Z Cache is in the back of the same compartment.
The front compartment holds my Black/Ultraviolet Side Effect and non-work items. There’s room for a packing cube of clothes when I use Brian as my only bag on work trips less than a week.
On my desk, I have items to help with morale. My screen saver is photo of someone kayaking in a crystal-clear rock garden. Under my monitor, Wilson (from Castaway) and Dory (from Finding Nemo) stand ever vigilant, ready to make me smile when I need it. Dory also reminds me to “Just keep swimming.” There’s also a VW microbus, in case I need to make a quick escape!