One of our members shared a New York Times article entitled 'Coworking on Vacation: A desk in paradise' one of the accompanying images was of Zsolt Kocsmarsky who works at Surf Office, a coworking space in the Canary Islands that boasts of close proximity to surfing beaches.
Credit: Laura Leon for The New York Times
The article discusses the now growing trend of coworking spaces that offer a place to work and vacation all wrapped up in one comfortable and practical bundle. The coworking space that we run here in Bath is 24/7 and we often joke that some of our members do live here, however one aspect of coworking that we have noticed and which our members often point out to us is that coworking spaces offer former home workers the chance to separate work and home. Many of our members have young children so this is a great selling point to them - they can bring their clients to a relaxed professional environment with no panic of finding dirty laundry on the floor...not sure if Surf Office can offer the same guarantee!
By no means is the article suggesting that this is the new way to work, but they are pointing out that this is being seen as a good and practical solution for many people. Mr Hrescak in the article states that "you'll get to meet like-minded people...I don't think I'd be able to have such an experience staying at a resort" which again poses the question should we and can we afford to separate our work and personal lives?
We did a quick study with some of our members here and the results were surprising: the majority of the members said that they thought the idea was great and that it really appealed to them. Some members did question the reason for travel - if you were going to work but fancied a change of scenery then it could really work, but if you were going on holiday then they wouldn't want to take work with them or be based in an office environment. The answer seemed to be if they were going away for work then they would look to see if there was a coworking space.
One of the reasons this surprised us was as we said many of our members come here to work, as they don't/can't work from home. But one member pointed out to us - The Guild is a long term solution whereas these places are a couple of weeks max...maybe if we were near a beach things would be different...
Regardless of what we and our members think, it does show that more and more of us can't separate work from home whether by choice or necessity. In the past when many of us worked at larger companies we could afford to take a couple of weeks off and check our email once or twice a day while on a sun-lounger drinking a pina colada but now it simply isn't practical for the majority of us!
I wonder if someone is developing a surfboard-cum-tablet?!