‘The Office (Pandemic Edition)’

The Drag’s staff show off their unique office spaces while working from home.

The iconic sitcom about a paper company in Scranton, Pennsylvania, perfectly illustrates the modern office. Desktop computers sit atop wooden desks, all grouped together in cubicle-style. Gray walls and floors drown out the fluorescent light from above.

However, sticking to tradition has never been part of The Drag’s style. The group of University of Texas students, professors and recent graduates has been quick to adapt and, like many other organizations, it is reinventing what it means to work in an office.

The global pandemic has forced our staff to work from home and create productive environments. Here are some of our offices!

Senior producer Haley Butler said she alternates between three spaces in her small one bedroom apartment, but she’s done some of her best work from her living room floor. She’ll sit at her coffee table to edit on Audition, paint with watercolors, journal, watch hours of “Courage the Cowardly Dog” or identify birds outside her window. 

Her desk, which Butler said is used less often than her floor and bed, is decorated with an Amelia Earhart stuffed animal bird and a miniature bird painting made by podcast director Sara Schleede.

Schleede said the desk in her bedroom usually has crafts or art projects scattered on its surface, but she tries to keep a “laptop-sized area” available for her long editing sessions. 

Since her bedroom is “fairly echo-y,” she said she records all of her narration in her closet. Schleede said she fills her closet with lots of fabric and covers her head with a blanket to dampen the noise. 

“I’m usually sweating by the time I’m finished voicing a script, but the result is pretty good quality audio,” Schleede said. 

Schleede keeps a photo of coworkers Butler and Tinu Thomas on the wall behind her desk, “not only because they look extremely adorable, but they’re the best audio journalists I know and looking at their faces keeps me motivated.”

“I used to do pretty much all of my work on campus, so it has been an adjustment,” said Madi Thomason, the web developer and graphic designer for The Drag. 

Without a desk, Thomason works from her apartment’s kitchen table and has transformed the area to function more like an office space. Her shelves hold a wide array of sentimental and personal items. 

Among them, a jar of seashells her boyfriend collected the summer before they started high school, her grandmother’s wedding photo, a broken alarm clock and her collection of turtle figurines.  

Podcast director Anysa Hernandez said her workspace adapts to her nomadic lifestyle.

“I went to Austin and lived with my friends for a month and a half. I moved to pretty much every room,” Hernandez said. 

Hernandez said she likes her current workspace because it is flooded with natural light.

Sabrina LeBoeuf, content director for The Drag, alludes to her cultural heritage through the art arranged behind her desk. 

She said the molas, hand-made textiles that mark the traditional clothing of the Kuna people of Panama, create a unique background for her Zoom meetings and show her appreciation for indigenous Panamanian art.

Intern Kadija Baldé said she likes to start her mornings in her backyard, drinking tea from her favorite coffee mug. She would often work inside campus buildings, but she said, “something about being home just opens me up more.” 

A thoroughly organized corner of her bedroom holds her social wall calendar, academic agenda and work planning board.

Intern Mikayla Mondragon is “usually wrapped in a blanket” while she sits on her couch to edit audio, attend Zoom meetings and work on content for The Drag. Her colorful wall is filled with posters of things both she and her boyfriend enjoy, such as the “Steven Universe” series and “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.”

Maya Fawaz is a senior at the University of Texas studying Journalism with a minor in French. She loves impulsively redecorating and cooking without following a recipe.

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