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Working from the Dining Room Table

My Office in the Dining RoomIt turns out that my parent’s office is not as available as they led me to believe. Either that or I did not make it clear that it would be difficult for me to work in the space while other people were in it. I think that this has been an unusual week which necessitated extra use of the space by various parties. For the past two days, instead of going into the Mt. Shasta office, I have set up shop at the dining room table.

I’m relatively comfortable here. I think the back and neck problems mentioned in my earlier post were caused by my attempt to replicate the way I work in my office in Webster. There I often sit and work for 8+ hours straight with few breaks, eating at my desk and not taking a real lunch. This isn’t really very healthy and in a home/temporary office space this has become much more apparent. So I’ve been taking more breaks between tasks, getting up and walking around, petting the cat, going outside to pet the dogs or pick raspberries from the garden, and actually eating lunch away from the computer. For the most part, I’ve been able to focus and get things done.

Connectivity is somewhat of an issue here. For people who live in rural areas, options are limited. Until only recently my parents had dial up Internet access. They can’t get regular DSL or cable access here, satellite connections are apparently unreliable (although my brother has had good luck with his in Trinity County which is more remote). Now they use Verizon MiFi which involves a small wireless slab that projects a network in the neighborhood of your devices (you can see it to the right of my laptop in the picture). It works pretty good but I’ve discovered that it will only last for about 3 hours before it needs to be charged again. My parents only turn it on when they want to check their email. On top of this, I don’t get cell service (AT&T) unless I go out into the front yard. Luckily I don’t have any meetings today or tomorrow and I should be able to have more access to the office in Mt. Shasta next week.

I brought all of the files I need with me and I have been downloading relevant documents from email then working on them offline to conserve battery time on the MiFi. Today I did some work on the Xerox Innovation Group Conference materials. I’m on the planning committee of this internal conference that takes place next month and things are starting to kick into high gear as the date approaches. I also gave some feedback to the UI designer on trailmeme.com. We’ve needed to re-evaluate the landing page goals and design for a while, but other more pressing issues have taken priority. This week I think we are finally zeroing in on an appropriate update. I then spent some time on Open Xerox, a portal where the public can experience various technologies from our global research labs. Xerox Interactive Marketing has recently updated the style of the xerox.com website. Associated websites like ours have a little while to update their sites to match the new branding. Our team is eager to make the switch so, after a meeting with interactive marketing last week, I reviewed the new guidelines and made a list of the things we will need to change in our template. Luckily it is not a complete overhaul so we should be able to get it done fairly quickly.

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Mary Ann Sprague August 15, 2011, 5:26 am

    Sounds like you’ve been busy despite your network issues. I’m working from home a bit as well, and last week spent mornings at Starry Nites. That time was very productive (except for the occasional crash). Enjoy the atmosphere while you can!

  • Zahra August 15, 2011, 10:41 am

    Thanks Mary Ann! I’ll be back in the office next week, how’s my plant doing?

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