I think many of us feel a real urge to try to get the world back to normal as quickly as possible — which for us working stiffs means going to the office and rolling up our sleeves to do our jobs. At the same time, however, attempts to stop the spread of COVID-19 are only going to work if we take steps to make sure that “social distancing” has a chance to be implemented. That means we need to listen to our inner Moe Howard, of Three Stooges fame, and “spread out” a bit. I’m doing my part in that effort by working from home today.
For me, at least, a key part of the work at home process is to set up a proper work space. The best spot in my view is our kitchen island, which has a good, wide surface with plenty of room for my laptop and papers, good lighting, and a hard wooden chair to keep my posture in line.
It’s also important to pick the right accoutrements for the home workspace — the things that signal that you’re really on the job and ready to dig in. Picking the right coffee cup is a crucial decision, for example. At the office I’ve got the same stoneware coffee cup that I’ve had since, literally, since I first started law school in 1982 and that has been my dependable office mug ever since I started working at the firm in 1986. Pouring a steaming hot river of joe into that mug tells me immediately that the work day has begun.
So, what to do for my home office cup? I can’t pretend to pick a cup from the motley assortment in our kitchen cabinet that will have the same storied history and workplace kinship as my office mug, but it’s still important to select something that will send the same knuckle-down message. I’ve decided to eschew the beagle cup and the cups with the southwestern designs in favor of a plain white cup with a row of dots near the rim. It’s got a solid, no-nonsense feel to it, and also carries a significant volume, which is important when you regulate your coffee intake by trying to remember how many cups you’ve already had during the day. It’s also got a big surface area, to allow the hot java to cool promptly.
With my coffee cup carefully selected, and the coffee pot charged and brewing, I’m ready to face the work day. Of course, there will be one key difference between my home workspace and the office — I won’t be allowed to dispose of leftover candies and other goodies by leaving them near the coffee pot.