Figuring Out Hybrid Work

Woman with laptop and cup of coffee

Throughout the first two years of the pandemic, I worked at home, but now I’m back on campus two days per week, which is the ongoing plan. As part of this arrangement, I agreed to give up my office at the university. Moving forward, I will have a cubicle to work in and stash books and things that were in my office. For the next few months, however, I’ll move between available office spaces with doors that close so I don’t need to wear a mask all day. As others return to campus and some new people join our team, I will work in the cubicle the two days that I’m in.

At home, I have a desk in one of our spare bedrooms where I mostly work, but I also sometimes work in the kitchen, and when the weather permits, at the table on our back deck.

All of this means that my core work materials and gear need to be portable. I know that a lot of people are in similar situations so I thought I’d share what I have, and would welcome hearing from others.

  • Backpack – The main compartment has a padded pocket for a laptop. It also has mesh pockets on both sides of the bag for water bottles, and there’s a chest strap for better stability (i.e. it’s better for my back). It’s not the one I would have chosen, but my daughter decided it was too big for her and she doesn’t have a laptop, thus it’s the one I use.
  • Computer – I have a laptop provided by the university. It’s certainly easier than using my own desktop at home and having a desktop at work, especially when my workspace shifts around. So far I’ve only forgotten to take my power cord home once, which necessitated me going to campus on a Sunday to retrieve it for working from home on Monday.
  • File organizer – There are still a lot of papers that I end up with – articles to read, planning materials that I make notes on, etc. – and I need to have those available for me in my different workspaces. To avoid having my backpack look like mine did in elementary school, with papers crumpled up or at least crinkled from having other items added to the back, I requested a portable file organizer, which I just started using this week. It’s big enough to hold the papers I need, plus my planner, yet small enough to fit into my backpack. It’s also designed to stand upright on a desk, which makes it even handier.
  • Journal – I always try to have my journal with me. A few years ago and splurged on a leather cover to slip my journal in. It has a place for pens and other small items like note cards or labels. My initials are monogrammed on the front.
  • Lunch box – Yes, I have a lunch box. It’s made from some kind of soft plastic and is insulated. It also has a clip that lets me hook it to the back of my backpack if I want.
  • Water bottle – I always have a water bottle with me.
  • Travel mug – On days that I go to campus, I’ll often make a tea to take with me to work. I have a Yetti travel mug for this. I sometimes wish that I’d gotten one with a handle, but then it wouldn’t fit in the cup holder in my car.
  • Pens – I have one nice pen that I always use (a Cross pen with blue gel ink) and some think highlighters that I use mostly with my planner to denote whether something on my calendar is a meeting, work time, a family thing, a friend thing, self-care, or something related to Better Me.

I’m probably forgetting something, but those things (plus my phone and earbuds) are what I need to work on, regardless of what workspace I find myself in.

Featured image courtesy of Nenad Stojkovic under a CC-BY license.

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