Media workers are considered essential, but since the shelter-in-place order we here at Sonoma West Publishers have been largely working from home. Each of the members of our editorial staff is sharing their work at home space with our readers as we navigate doing all of our work remotely. If you want photos of our spaces, check out our Instagram page at
Heather Bailey, Editor, The Windsor Times
My job at Sonoma West Publishers is my first in-office job in almost 20 years, so I have a fairly well established home office as I’ve worked from home most of my adult life. The room was likely designed originally as a den, but my husband and I share it, my office on one side and his on the other. We have communal space that’s taken up with our voluminous book collection and ribbons, photos and medals from our years of equestrian competitions, along with a shelf dedicated to my now nearly ancient collection of Breyer horses I’ve had since childhood. (Yes, I was one of those girls).
My desk space holds my laptop and a keyboard and mouse along with an iPad I use for entertainment and research. I have three photos on my desk: one of my husband from the 1996 Olympic Games where we attended as reporters and photographers and as a newly minted couple; one of my first Doberman Warlock (I’m on Doberman number four now); and one of my grandfather holding a 2-year-old me. He died in 2010, but has been a guiding force in my life, so I always make sure to have him close when I’m working. Among other things, he told me way back when I was about 10 that he thought I should be a reporter.
My walls are covered with prayer flags and framed quotes from “Harry Potter” (what writer can ever resist “Words are, in my-not-so humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic?”). And my shelves are filled with photos of horses, dogs, goats and family past and present.
Other random items: a ubiquitous diet Dr. Pepper, a miniature TARDIS from Doctor Who, pretty feathers gathered from my chickens, a Merlion figurine from Singapore, a handmade finger bowl from a trip to Kenya and luck dragon from Hong Kong. 
Laura Hagar Rush, Editor, Sonoma West Times & News
As a so-called essential worker (journalist), I spent the first week after shelter-in-place going to my office in Sebastopol — a big empty room where I work all by myself. Since it was just me, it seemed pretty safe. But there were other people in the building and a shared bathroom, so after a week of increasingly elaborate hand washing, I decided to set up shop at home.
At first I moved into our home office (formerly the dining room), which I shared with my husband, a mechanical engineer who has worked at home for most of the 20 years we’ve lived in Sonoma County.
But somehow, I just couldn’t settle in. Not that he was noisy. He isn’t — I mean he’s an engineer for God’s sake. It’s more like he was suddenly very interesting, and so were our housemates (amusing 20-somethings who bound up the stairs each morning like golden retrievers).
In fact, they were so interesting that I found myself wandering away from my computer every other minute to chat or make tea or chat or water the plants or chat. You get the drift. I complained to one of the editors of a sister paper that was I having trouble “falling into the computer,” which is to say entering that trance-like state that allows one to work 16-hour days without noticing.
So I moved my computer out of the home office and into our bedroom, which has a door that I can shut and is separated from the rest of the house. Alas, our bedroom has tall, eastern-facing windows that fill the room with light — which is great, except that it’s not so great if you’re working on a computer screen, plus I found myself distracted by what was happening outside the windows: the wind in the trees, the quail in the grass, the garden that needed tending …
That wouldn’t do. I closed the door, and dug through our linen closet. I pulled out some old, black sheets (sateen, what was I thinking!) and hung them across half of the windows; just enough to cut down the glare on the computer, dim the room considerably, and create the sensory deprivation tank aenvironment I prefer to work in.
So that’s how you can think of me — holed up in a dim room with just me and my computer and my cellphone as my only connection outside world. It works fine. I even like it.
And my husband’s being a sport about it. He likes having me home — my lifelong tendency to work overtime at the office has been a bone of contention between us for years. He says he doesn’t mind when I crawl out of bed at three in the morning, turn on my ginormous, glowing computer screen and start typing away — rat-tatta-tat-tat. He’s just happy I’m home at last after all these years.
And that, dear reader, is why I married him.
Zoë Strickland, Editor, Cloverdale Reveille
When the county’s shelter in place order first took effect, I was wholly unprepared to work from home. In the weeks since then, I’ve shifted to a more closed off, comfortable space, but there was some growing pains before I was able to do so.
My room in the house that I share with my family was without a desk (or any other defined table space) and aside from a kitchen and dining room table, there wasn’t space to hunker down with the massive Mac that allows me to lay out some of our newspapers.
So, I initially began working from home at our dining room table. The table, though beautiful and a hand-me-down from family, has what I believe to be are the world’s most uncomfortable chairs — especially when sitting for hours on end — and is smack dab in the action zone of my dogs’ incessant barking at passing animals or falling leaves.
That table was my work-home for about two weeks. It was suitable, but caused some problems when it came time for me to watch meetings, interview sources or participate in Zoom calls. Dogs don’t like to abide by “don’t bother me, I’m working” protocol.
In the past week, however, my work from home situation has shifted for the better. Following a Saturday full of moving bookshelves and cabinets, as well as putting in a desk that someone graciously lent me, I have a workspace that allows me to hide behind a closed door while I write articles and design newspapers. The new space also lets me interview people in peace. My desk looks similar to how I imagine most work from home spaces look like — there’s a computer, a notebook, a mug of pens and a desk plant. While it’s quieter than my original set-up, I do miss the occasional random dog distraction.
Katherine Minkiewicz, Staff Writer
My at-home workspace isn’t ideal and I’m sure lots of folks who are working at home feel the same about their temporary home office.
My fiancé and I’s apartment is an accessory dwelling unit, more commonly known as a granny unit, and so it is inherently small.
While it is nice not having anyone above or below us, we only have one bedroom and one bathroom and the main room serves as our kitchen, dining room and living room, so I’ve set myself up to do work at our small dining room table that serves as a sort of a divider between the kitchen and living space.
The workspace isn’t complete without a steaming mug of coffee, two notebooks at the ready, my laptop, an assortment of pens and a post-it note reminding me not to panic.
I always like to sit facing our sliding glass door so every once in a while I can glance at the view of Petaluma Mountain and of the oak trees outside. But since our antique dining room table and chairs are quite rickety and not too ergonomically friendly, I always have to make myself a booster seat out of two pillows and a rolled up blanket. My feet are dangling from the chair like a kid in an oversized seat as I write this.
The first week working at my new space was a bit challenging. I’d either get distracted by the neighbor cat visiting our patio to say “Hi,” or a twinge of cabin fever that would make me think, “Can I really work like this for a month without going stir-crazy?”
I miss our office in Healdsburg. I miss the shrill ring of the phones, the occasional cheesy office joke, the buzz in the air on deadline day when the printer is busy printing pages. I miss the plant on my desk that’s probably now wilted and I miss seeing my co-workers most of all, however, I think I’m finally settling into this strange new routine as we all are.

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