The Florida Bar

Isolation Office

April 30, 2020

By:  Shelly Zambo, FRP

Well, it has been over a month now and I think I have fully settled into my daily COVID isolation home office routine. Since my 45 minute drive into the office is unnecessary, I can roll out of bed around 8:00 a.m., put on some makeup (on even days only), drag a brush through my hair (ok, my fingers), grab some coffee, and sit on the porch with my business partner, my dog Charlie. We watch the birds and squirrels play in the palm trees around my pool and my horse and chickens eating breakfast, until it is time to log on at 9:00 a.m. Alright, I will be honest, I do not start working until 9:30, but I am a part-time contract paralegal (did I mention I gave up benefits for this freedom?) and I only get paid for the time I bill out on my cases. That is a very fair trade, if you ask me.

Once I am online, it is game time. I can access my desktop remotely and my office phone transfers to my cell phone through an app. All of the case files are managed through ATO document management system and every document is accessible. It seems like I am right there sitting in my old office again until reality hits, and Charlie barks at the Amazon guy knocking on the door to let me know I have a package. My attention refocuses after this brief interruption and my workup on a file is moving smoothly until a cardinal starts ramming its head into my office window (“office” meaning front bedroom with my desk and printer in the closet with doors removed). Why do cardinals throw themselves into windows? Back to my isolation office story… My day goes by so quickly I almost forget to take a lunch break. With such a wide array of food choices, it is sometimes difficult to make a quick decision but luckily my husband is kind enough to tell me what to make for both of us. Charlie gets a few ball tosses and it is back to work. I send emails to the attorneys throughout the day to make sure they know I still exist.  I realize my productivity seems so much higher without the interruptions I usually get throughout the day (did I mention I am within earshot of my attorney’s office?). The day is finished by 5:00 p.m. and I feel very accomplished.

If I handle this home gig too efficiently, I can’t help but think I may have to relinquish my office to a full-timer after all of this is over. For some reason, that does not sound like such a bad thing.

For now, it is back to reality. We are not in Kansas anymore, Dorothy. This is just temporary. I will someday have a real-life, face to face lunch hour with my office buddies I miss so much. The downside is that I may not have an office after this is over.