The verdict is in: The juror’s lounge is the best kept co-working space in town.
I am serving on jury duty this week and let me tell you, I had serious dread. Not because I might be deciding the fate of a defendant, but that my work would suffer and numerous deadlines would be missed.
I’ve been pleasantly surprised. There is a ton of downtime and the waiting area at the Seattle Municipal Court is lovely and functional, full of space and light and even an outdoor terrace. There are several computers available for use, as well as ample tables and outlets, a charging station and free Wi-Fi. The jury assembly room might be the perfect workspace – it’s basically a study hall that you’re not allowed to leave. Free of the usual distractions in my home office (cat, household chores, TV, did I mention my cat?), I have been able to put aside my ADD and focus like a nerdy college student on a caffeine bender. Let my strategies help you in the event you are summoned.
Clue in your clients. Alert your clients and colleagues that responses and deliverables may be delayed.
Clear your social calendar for the week ahead. You need time in the evening to recharge and work for a couple of hours. Postpone social outings until you are released from service.
Schedule calls before or after hours. The first day of jury duty, you will arrive at 8:30 a.m. and finish by 4:30 p.m. at the latest. After that, the hours are approximately 9–4:30, with a lunch break. On day two, I arranged an early morning Skype call with a New York-based client to keep a project moving forward.
Bring your devices and chargers. Like I said, there are charging stations and free wireless so you can stay connected throughout the day when you have breaks or are waiting to be called for a jury selection panel.
Bring lots of drinks and snacks. There is a fridge, vending machine and hot beverages, but you are cloistered aside from your lunch break. You can’t run out whenever you crave a Frappuccino, Unicorn or otherwise. Fearing starvation, I brought iced tea, clementines, two Kashi bars, a bag of trail mix, gum and a banana. I’ve consumed everything.
If you are selected for a jury, you will have less wait time in the lounge but you can still keep your projects moving with some advance planning and additional office hours in the morning and evening. If you’re like me, you’ll be wildly productive in your “study hall” and your dread will transform into civic pride in the process.