Work is changing, that much is clear. It’s evolving at the organizational level and in terms of the way we as individuals manage work in everyday life and at the office. And that’s not even taking (ro)bots and artificial intelligence – which will profoundly disrupt everything we have ever considered to be ‘normal’ – into consideration.
In my more than three years as a self-employed consultant, I’ve always tried to carefully manage how much time I actually spend at clients’ offices and working at home or other locations. There’s always that balance of getting work done and being physically present, be it for meetings or just to touch base with the client. And there also is the balance between non-professional aspects such as family, friends, and me-time. I strive to keep those life aspects in equilibrium.
Coffee bars and beyond
I get a lot of energy from being outside the house. Staying at home somehow often results in a latent nervousness about not really “being at work” or, even worse, doing the dishes to procrastinate. That’s why I’m a regular visitor of coffee bars around town. In addition to the coffee, seeing other random people getting work done seems to motivate me to do the same. Flat white within arm’s length, earphones in and working on that to-do list. The coffee bar vibe really works for me. If you want that vibe for you at home or at the office, you can get some good coffee bar audio here, courtesy of Hipstersound.com.
But coffee bars tend to feature more or less the same people visiting or working there, and they are also fixed geographical locations. Admittedly, if you visit coffee bars often enough, it feels like you’re going to work – but the focus is on coffee, vegan lunch and good WiFi. Fair enough. That’s basically all the things that the average company fails to offer its employees. I like.
Onward, to happy places
But what if you could set up shop anywhere you want and work in places where there are no regular offices? In nature, for example, near water. You know, places that tend to make a person happy. Then you need a mobile office – let’s call it a nomadic workplace. Something with wheels and a place to work and hold meetings – and facilities to make coffee or even lunch.
Enter the Volkswagen Westfalia camper. Swapping my former BMW for this multi-purpose vehicle was basically a no-brainer. Well, except for the cost, of course. But I’ll manage.
Here’s a short list of benefits:
1. I have huge freedom in deciding where to work. If I can park, it’s a potential office location.
2. It’s my own office. I own it. Ok, it does not have a postal address, but it’s my office.
3. Switching from travel mode to office mode takes just a few minutes.
4. I can meet clients halfway, even if there is no satellite office or hotel lobby halfway.
5. Traffic jams have lost all their meaning for me.
6. I’m head of facilities, IT and HR. Also head of catering. #likeaboss
7. I bring sports gear along so I can go for a run or exercise outdoors (weather permitting, obviously).
8. I meet interesting people who pass by and even drop in to say hi.
9. The exposure is amazing: everywhere I go, people see my logo and website.
10. It gives me a feeling of happiness and being in control that is unparalleled.
Only after a few weeks, these benefits have become amazingly clear, and I’m sure there will be more to come in the future. If you want to stay updated about our nomadic workplace (I sooooooo like the sound of that), please, follow our Shift Control adventures on Instagram.
Have a great (work)day!