The answer depends on you and the requirements of the job.
At the turn of the last century, millions of people all over the world realized for the first time that new technology meant they were no longer obligated to commute to offices; many of them could do their jobs just as well from home.
However, recent research from Regus revealed that many who embraced working from home found it much harder than they imagined. Work and children do not mix as happily as they had hoped, or they become desperate for human stimulus away from home.
There is a growing realization that working from home by itself is not the answer.
For many of us, there is no single place where we find ourselves most productive. We want a bit of everything—a place where we can meet people, look things up, and enjoy some visual stimulus before moving into a quiet area to think or make phone calls.
In the past 20 years, public spaces have changed enormously. Airports have responded to customer demand by creating more business lounges and areas where people can plug in their laptops.
Even storied institutions like the British Library in London (pictured) have more or less reinvented themselves in response to this demand for variety. The books and reading rooms are still there, but by taking advantage of its proximity to the Eurostar terminal and rail links to northern Britain, the library now provides Wi-Fi connectivity to more than 4000 people and meeting rooms with video facilities.
People want to move easily from leisure and conversation to the exchange of electronic information, whether sharing a document with a colleague or photograph with a relative.
From the gap between the public and private workspace has emerged a new category of workspace, a new way of working. We call it the ‘privileged space’ – an area in which you can be completely anonymous and do your own thing, but where you can also read, learn, and absorb from live meetings, webinars, printed material, and computers. Nowhere is sacred, nor should it be.
Even on the beach, once the epitome of getting away from it all, we see more and more people using digital devices to chat or work, and why not? If you can edit a report before going for a dip, and as long as you do remember to take a real break, where’s the harm?
We should embrace as liberation this new ability to choose our place of work. The power, at last, rests with the individual. And, if the demand is there, Regus, which already has centers in prime residential areas, railway stations, gas stations, and airports, is more than happy to open for business on the beach.
(Photo copyright: Nigel Bewley)