The answer will depend on you as an individual as well as the requirements of the job.
Towards the end of the last century, millions of people all over the world realized for the first time that new technology meant they were no longer obliged 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 homeworking found it far harder than they imagined. Work and children did not mix as happily as they had hoped, or they became 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 isn’t a single place where we find ourselves most productive. We want a bit of everything – a place where we can meet people, look things up, enjoy some visual stimulus then move 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 historic institutions like the British Library in London (pictured) have more or less reinvented themselves in response to this demand for variety. The books and quiet areas 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 for more than 4,000 people and meeting rooms with video facilities.
People need to be able to move easily from leisure and conversation to the exchange of electronic information – whether it is to share a document with a colleague or a photograph with a relative.
Into the gap between public and private working 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 or PCs. 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 so long as you do sometimes take a proper break, where’s the harm?
We should embrace this new ability to choose our place of work as a liberation. The power, at last, rests with the individual. And, if the demand is there, Regus, which already has centers in prime residential areas, in railway stations, in gas stations and in airports, will be more than happy to open for business on the beach.
(Photo copyright: Nigel Bewley)