Jan 09 2008
As part of HP’s happiness at work initiative they have listed 25 new places to work. I’ve repeated the list (minus a few of the less relevant ones like the Eiffel Tower!) below with my comments in blue:
- The garden. There’s nothing like an English summer. And even if the sun shines, you can still get some work done in the garden. With the new Intel® Next-Gen Wireless-N technology in your PCs and a compatible network, you can stay connected at over twice the range and five times as fast as you can with current wireless networks. I often work in the garden, but in the UK its often too cold or too windy even when it’s sunny so a conservatory is essential. Also good luck with trying to ready your screen unless like me you invested in a outdoor screen. Also forget the high speed wireless and concentrate on getting high speed ADSL!
- Shed. Garden sheds have moved upmarket. Companies like Green Retreats and The Garden Escape can turn the humble shed into a smart office with insulation, electricity and double glazing. Best of all, you can take the office with you if you move house. With a second battery charger or notebook docking station, you can plug your Notebook in and start working immediately. Definitely, I am just in the process of getting my wife Debbie a garden room which will be used for work and play. We are moving my lab server and her laptop in there and it will be super insulated so they should be enough to keep it warm, and I get off-site backup as well.
- Coffee shop. JK Rowling wrote the first Harry Potter book in cafes and coffee shops. Many offer wireless networking so you can get online. I often work in Coffee shops, Cafe Nero is my favourite as I love the chocolate cake. Find a time when it’s quiet and try forgetting the wifi, its just another distraction.
- Beach. With HP’s 3G Mobile Broadband you can work on the beach just as easily as in the office and still get online. Just don’t get ice cream on the keyboard (although if you do, the Mylar layer we put underneath it should stop it becoming a disaster). I live by the beach but I’ve not had much success working on it, but I often snuggle down in the sand dunes for a conference call while I’m out walking. You need a outdoor screen on your laptop though. One thing I will be trying is doing some dictation using Dragon Naturally Speaking out of the wind in the Dunes, miles away from anyone. Normally though for me working on the beach is low tech, a book and a phone.
- Airport. They make you rush to the airport hours before the plane leaves and then you have to sit around and wait. Why not use that time to get some work done? Most airports now how have wireless networks so you can get online, and companies like Priority Pass will give you access to lounges with business facilities, even if you’re not flying business class. I don’t fly internationally that much, I fly nationally once a week, but for me short flights and laptops don’t mix but they are a great place for having a chat, reading a book or processing email on my Blackberry. For long flights I prefer reading and DVD movies.
- In bed. If you get a broadband connection with wireless networking built-in, you can work anywhere in the house. Including the bedroom. No thanks
- Library. Public libraries are quiet and full of studious people. Just like an office ought to be (but usually isn’t). The British Library in particular has a very good business section. I love working in libraries, but I prefer to choose a book at random and then just find a comfy chair and read for an hour. It’s a great escape when the girls are out shopping
- Home office. See our article: The A-Z of the perfect home office. I’ve written plenty about this already and I’m redesigning mine now.
- CEO of the sofa. P.J. O’Rourke’s book of the same name shows how much work you can get done from your own living room (and it’s very funny to boot). Definitely, I do all my feed reading in my recliner in the living room during family TV hour in the evening and I’m definitely getting a Sofa or a recliner in my new home office.
- Park. Personal trainers are turning Britain’s parks into fitness boot camps; why not turn your local park into an office one? You can make phone calls and have inspiring ideas while taking a stroll and then do your email from a park bench, using an HP Voice Messenger Smart Phone. Starting to repeat myself now, we have a great park 5 minutes walk away, but a parks for fun and for reading, not much IT here for me. Although I might admit to doing a bit of email processing and a few voice notes on my Blackberry if I’m waiting for the kids.
- Hiking. Take along an iPAQ or a Smart Phone and you can stay in touch and get some work done even while you are enjoying the view. Get a padded Notebook carry case to keep your system safe and secure. I do a lot of work while out walking, listening to podcasts, recorded conference calls that I’ve missed, making voice notes, thinking. I don’t do too many phone calls because of the wind on the coast.
- 30,000 feet. With an extended life battery, you can use an HP Notebook for nine hours or more without recharging. Plenty of time to get some work done – and watch a DVD – on a long-haul flight. See above – Airports
- In the bath. Churchill had a habit of giving dictation from his bath tub. It might be a good place to think and talk, but we recommend against using anything electrical in the bath! I read for half an hour (at least) in the bath most nights, but normally fiction.
- Walk and talk. Dictate replies to your emails while you walk using the HP iPAQ 514 Voice Messenger. Yep, I do this on my Blackberry a lot and am about to try converting to text with Dragon NS.
- Restaurants. Eat. Think. Work. I’m a home worker so often I see little point travelling to the office for a meeting, let’s meet for lunch or breakfast – much more relaxing and fun.