Furry, friendly 'coworkers' earn home office honors for Straatmann

· 4 min read

Furry, friendly ‘coworkers’ earn home office honors for Straatmann

Lori Straatmann

An office filled with three feline “coworkers” has earned Husker Home Office of the Week honors for Lori Straatmann.

Straatmann’s furry friends enjoy lounging on her desk while she works, which keeps her company in the absence of human coworkers. Straatmann is director of enrollment operations in the College of Engineering.

The Husker Home Office of the Week award was launched April 10 to showcase how faculty and staff have adjusted to working from home as part of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s response to COVID-19.

The award repeats weekly until employees return to campus. Details on how to enter are below.

Read on for Straatmann’s takes on how working from home is progressing and a few tips for other faculty and staff to consider.

Why does this space work for you?

I like this space because I have ample desk surface, which includes a spot for any one of my three cat “coworkers” to keep me company. I have a “pouf” stool that my husband made for me so I can put my feet up as I’m working on reports. Additionally, I have some of my favorite mementos here which keep me smiling, and I can listen to classical or ska music during the day, depending on what the work calls for in terms of focus or energy. Dancing can happen on occasion, which keeps me refreshed. Of course, having 24/7 access to good coffee is a plus.

What tips for a successful work-from-home day do you have for fellow employees?

For those who have the luxury of not having to home-school children, make sure to align your work day as if you are in your campus office. Keep to your schedule. Resist the temptation to sleep in or to get caught up in household chores for hours. Use your productive times strategically. Make your working space a place you enjoy being in; no one wants to work in an uncomfortable environment whether that’s on campus or at home. Drink lots of water. Get good sleep. Make sure to exercise every day.

What is your favorite item in your home office?

My favorite item in my home office space is at a toss-up between my sleeping cat on the desk, my Scentsy wax warmer and my coffee mug. All of these things make me feel relaxed and ready for the day.

What do you miss most about your campus space?

I really miss having hallway conversations with my coworkers. I’ve met a lot of folks through Zoom meetings, but my hallway neighbors are not the folks typically in the Zoom calls. We have a really nice little community in our hallway and being without that community is difficult.

What is something you’ve learned working from home that you hope to integrate when you return to campus?

I’m definitely bringing classical music to my office when I return to campus. I have found a streaming station that is perfect for focus.


To be considered for the honor, submit photos of your custom space via email to tfedderson@unl.edu along with answers to the the questions below. The award winner will be notified on each Thursday, with their space appearing in the Friday edition of Nebraska Today. For more information, send email to tfedderson@unl.edu.

Entries for the “Husker Home Office of the Week” must include your name, university position, home department, phone number (for contact, if necessary), years employed on campus, home address (to mail the award), and answers to at least three of these five questions:

- Why does this space work for you?

- What tips for a successful work-from-home day do you have for fellow employees?

- What is your favorite item in the home office space?

- What do you miss most about your campus space?

- Is there any process/concept/idea that you’ve experienced working from home that you hope to integrate when we return to campus?

Recent News