Four months ago, I joined Ad Hoc as a designer working on Vets.gov and Ad Hoc’s website. The Vets.gov work is pretty equal parts hands-on design and user research, which means I go between being immersed in Sketch and Marvelapp and spending a lot of time in Join.me channels.
I live in Baltimore with my husband, Gavin, and our cat, Willow. We just moved into a new house, so at the moment, I’m settling back into #remotelife in a new space.
It’s become apparent that the unofficial desk of Ad Hoc is some version of the Jarvis sit/stand desk. I have a Jarvis Junior, which I bought to fit in a corner of our old apartment, but which also fits perfectly in a nook in our new basement. It serves as my computer desk and my workbench for making physical things…or at least it will, once I’m done unpacking from the move and can actually reach it!
I use a 13” Macbook Pro with a Touch Bar and no external monitor yet – mostly because even when my desk is accessible, I move around in my space a lot. I like to bounce from basement to kitchen to front porch to any given patch of carpeted floor.
I work out of the house pretty often too, and when I do, I carry three sets of headphones – standard earbuds for the laptop, Lightning earbuds for my phone, and giant over-the-ear noise-cancelling cans. It’s overkill, maybe, but it ensures I’m never without a way to block out the world and join my online meetings.
Also in my kit: at least one way to charge my iPhone! Plus ibuprofen, band-aids, and usually a nail file. I also always carry a hoodie or jacket; I don’t care if it’s 100 degrees out. I like to take notes and sketch on paper, so I also carry a dot-grid notebook and a zip pouch full of felt-tip pens.
Give me all the coffee
I’m a huge fan of coffee shops. It’s easy for me to get distracted when I’m at home – my cat’s super cute, and the couch is very comfortable and good for napping. Plus our house is basically one long list of projects just beckoning to be completed (not complaining – I love a little DIY). I’m lucky that I live an easy walk from several work-friendly coffee shops and cafés. There are also a bunch of Ad Hoc people in Baltimore, so I’m hoping that co-coffee-shop-working will become a regular thing.
I’m introverted, I swear
Working remotely is kind of my ideal life, to be honest. I’m apparently an “extroverted introvert,” in that I do very much recharge when I’m in on my own, but I don’t like to be alone all the time. I love the flexibility to cowork with other members of Ad Hoc when I need human contact, or to hole up in my basement den when I need to focus in solitude.
It’s also really nice that most of the time I can make my work schedule mold to other parts of my life – work-life balance isn’t just an ideal. As long as my obligations to my team and Vets.gov users are met, I can hop out to a mid-day yoga class, or deal with the little curveballs that come with home- and cat-ownership. Lately I’ve also been prone to working very early in the morning and later in the evening, which is definitely facilitated by not needing to go to an office!
Right now, maybe the very best part of #remotelife hasn’t happened yet: we’re planning on getting a dog! We refer to it as “FutureDog,” and I am anticipating it to the point that my colleagues have started joking about my “dogological clock.” I’ve raised dogs before, and the hardest part was always having to leave the poor pupster alone for hours at a time to go to work!
Remote life means that FutureDog can join the cohort of Ad Hoc fuzzballs, and that I can be available to train, walk, and love on him around the clock. We want a young dog, possibly even a puppy, which means lots of walks and training time. I can’t wait for this and the rest of my #remotelife!