Like many businesses, the staff of The Verge has largely decamped to our homes. Starting in early March, we packed up our laptops and headphones, and we are now working from home offices, dining room tables, desks set up in the corners of bedrooms, or living room sofas.
We thought it would be fun to find out, six months later, what adjustments the staff has made to their various living quarters in order to be able to turn out the same journalism that was formerly produced in an office setting.
For this article, we talked to Verge social media manager Kaitlin Hatton.
Kaitlin, what does a social media manager do, actually?
I handle everything from analytics to posting across all of our platforms, with a bunch of responsibilities in between. I tend to focus on our Instagram accounts and our Verge Deals Twitter account, so if you’ve ever wondered who is behind the screen for those profiles, that would be me!
Looking at the photos of your desk, I have to tell you that’s a great space. Was that an existing setup or did you put it together once you knew you’d be working at home?
Thank you! The situation around my setup is unique in that it came about when I switched from being in Vox Media’s office full-time while I lived in New York City to going entirely remote and moving to Ohio. I had always envisioned what I wanted my workspace to look like at home, but I wasn’t able to actually act on it until I moved. So everything from the setup to relocating was a fresh start.
I love the view out your window.
The large windows are my favorite part of the apartment — especially since I’m home all the time now. I spend a lot of time at my desk, and the natural light is a lifesaver.
Tell me a little about the desk.
Believe it or not, the desk is actually a Facebook Marketplace find. I was on a tight budget from moving and trying to be eco-conscious with some of my furniture choices. I made a pact with myself that I would try to find something that fits my needs and aesthetic secondhand first before buying new. I ended up really lucking out on this desk because it was $25, is incredibly spacious, and it’s been super sturdy.
That’s great. It’s hard to find something that useful secondhand. Is the chair secondhand as well?
It’s not! It’s from a set of dining chairs that I purchased new. I decided it was more comfortable than my previous desk chair so I swapped them out
Do you think you’ll be looking around for a “real” desk chair? Or is this one comfortable enough to last you for a while?
It’s actually pretty comfortable so I’m going to keep it around for a while!
Okay, can you tell me about your tech?
Yes! The most crucial items that I need for work are my 2017 MacBook Pro, my external Dell monitor, and the OWC Thunderbolt 3 dock that I use to connect them. As a social media manager, I have to keep a lot of different websites and platforms up at all times so I’d be lost without a second screen. Unfortunately, my laptop is about to be sent off for repair because it’s missing the H key. It just popped off one day! As a solution, I’m using another Apple keyboard and mouse so my desk is a little crowded at the moment. (Note: since this was written, Kaitlin reports that her H key has been fixed.)
It’s interesting that you grab for your Kindle rather than your phone.
I wear an Apple Watch nearly every day, so unless I need to post to The Verge’s Instagram accounts, I tend to just leave my phone around since I’ll see texts coming in anyway. I’m always reading books so I like to make sure my Kindle is around me in case I have some spare time to use it. It’s ancient; I’ve had it for years, but it’s still chugging along just fine.
And you knew I was going to ask: “Is meatball an fruit?”
Honestly, it’s one of the best things I own! I’m a major Post Malone fan, for starters. Then several acquaintances of mine in the social media management sphere were getting these plaques with their favorite inspirational tweets on them. The only tweet I could think of that I wanted to look at every day was this one. It’s truly iconic.
That’s a beautiful decoration on the back of your monitor. What is it?
Thanks! It’s an embroidered coffin! Halloween is my favorite holiday, and I refuse to limit my celebration of it to just October. So I keep little, subtle holiday decorations up year-round. I got this one from a local artist at an art fair last year.
It’s lovely. Okay, just two more questions. First: is your desk always this neat?
Ha! Yes! I like to call myself an accidental minimalist. I unintentionally own relatively few things, so it’s easy for me to stay tidy.
Second: is there anything you’d like to change or add to the current setup?
I’ve actually been thinking about that a lot recently. I think I’d like to add some LED strip lights to my desk in some way so I can light up the rest of my living room with a pretty color. I’d also like to find a cable box to hide my mess of cords that are currently tucked in the corner behind me. I’ve never been one for cable management until I put my desk out in the open.
Update February 8th, 2021, 11AM ET: This article was originally published on September 9th, 2020. Prices have been updated, and Kaitlin reports that she now keeps a coloring book at her desk to work on when she wants to pass the time.