Published on January 10th, 2013 | by Jessica Stillman
Maximize your work environment (wherever you work)
Setting up collaboration tools for your company is like getting your first car. It’s exciting to have a powerful, new technology at your disposal, but acquiring it and gassing it up is really only the first part of a much longer, and more exciting process. Like a zippy new car, well-thought-out collaboration tools open up possibilities—new ways to work and, perhaps most immediately, new places to work. But where should you go and how can you make finding and outfitting ideal workspaces as painless as possible?
On the road
Tech tools have made many knowledge workers effectively location independent. That’s great—we know you’re picturing yourself laptop open on the beach right now, and experts argue new locales can lead to creative breakthroughs—but it can also present challenges.
If you decide to use this freedom to travel, finding comfortable places to plug in with a fast, reliable internet connection can be a hassle. Thankfully, frequent traveler and Tortuga Backpacks co-founder Fred Perrotta has you covered. Recently on Under30CEO he rounded up all the options for workers on the road. His suggestions include Wi-Fi Finder to locate hotspots, cell phone carrier MiFi packages or, for those looking to roam much further from home, XCom Global flat-rate global data plans and Airbnb’s option to search for wireless enabled accommodation. Check out the complete post here.
At a third space
Not everyone is a footloose world traveller. Some folks are more keen to skip their commute and gain a couple of extra minutes with their kids than they are to log in from Cambodia or the Caribbean. A coworking space, as we’ve previously pointed out here on the Central Desktop blog, is often the best solution. The incredibly buzzy movement lets mobile workers pay by the day or month to share in the joys of a social, well stocked workplace.
Spaces range from your standard-issue hip office to industry-specific hubs, spaces specifically for growing start-ups and communities with a more eco-aware bent (not getting in the car every day is great for the environment, after all) so investigate the vibe of any space you’re considering joining before you take the plunge. The Coworking Wiki and directories like Deskwanted can help you find options nearby.
In the office
You may often be able to work almost anywhere, but that doesn’t mean you won’t still sometimes need, or want, to come home to the mothership. Maybe it’s just to catch up on the latest gossip, or maybe you have a big client presentation or some serious collaborative discussing to do and prefer to chat face to face.
The office remains an essential part of a more mobile work style, but exactly what the office looks like is changing. As offices become less of a place to pound out concentrated work (why not stay home or go to a coffee shop where the buzz, scientists say, can aid with creativity?) and more often a collaboration hub, the mix of desks to gathering spots needs to shift more towards the latter while still retaining some private nooks for those who need to escape the noise.
That’s the message of an image gallery from MIT Technology Review and a recent slideshow on Inc.com, which offer inspirational examples to illustrate how smart companies are adapting their offices to more mobile and collaborative work.