Nearly four million U.S. employees work remotely at least part of the time, a number that has grown 103 percent since 2005, according to Global Workplace Analytics. And that’s not even counting the self-employed who work out of their homes.
One of the great things about the virtual workplace is that you can mix up your work environment whenever you get bored, without paying a hefty sum for privilege.
Spend a week in the mountains, or a month in the woods; go south for the winter, and to the sea shore for the summer. All you need is a good Wi-Fi connection.
For example, next time you’re in London, check out Vrumi, an Airbnb-style website to rent workspace in local residences. It's definitely a more homey alternative to the typical corporate-like shared office space offerings.
As Alexander Kjerulf notes in The Chief Happiness Office Blog, “Physical space matters. It’s easier to be productive, creative and happy at work in a colorful, organic, playful environment than in a grey, linear, boring one.”
Related Article: Remote vs. In-Office Workers: Which Employee Is Actually Better?
Here are some unusual places that are available for rent, so you can get some work done and enjoy the view.
If It’s Good Enough for Richard Branson...
Richard Branson ran his first business, Virgin Records, from his houseboat. You could, too. The Telegraph reports on a houseboat on the Regents Canal that seats eight and features the office conveniences of a projector, printer and flipchart, as well as a meeting table that can accommodate up to eight co-workers.
It could be all yours for 80 pounds a day (about $114 USD) on weekdays, or 120 pounds a day (about $171 USD) on weekends (though this raises the question of why you would want to work on weekends, let alone pay more to do it). You can even order an optional buffet lunch.
Shipping Your Business Overseas
The thing about a houseboat, though, is that it's intended to stay in one place. If you’re looking for an office you can travel with, consider a boat. “As the demand for Internet service has grown on land, so has the interest in having it on a boat,” Ryan Smith of KVH Mobile World notes. “Boats are an extension of a person’s home, and home office. They want Internet onboard.”
Thanks to satellite technology, you can be on the high seas and online at the same time. You can take a cruise or, for the more adventurous, pilot your own to wherever you want to go. Don’t own a boat? Rent one. And if you aren’t exactly confident in your seafaring capabilities, there’s this little 1960s boat for hire to test the waters and tool around more gentle marina waters.
Invoke a Higher Authority
For those whose work aspirations transcend the ordinary, consider renting a chapel. It's great for motivational meetings to inspire your team and contemplate new strategies.
Related Article: 5 Things to Consider When Looking for a Co-Working Space
Put Your Work on Display
Harlan Ellison has written short stories in the windows of bookstores. “I do it because I think particularly in this country are so distanced from literature, the way it’s taught in school, that they think the people who write are magicians on a mountaintop somewhere,” said Ellison, a 40-year veteran of the ink trades, in part famous for writing an episode of the original "Star Trek" that featured Joan Collins in a doomed love affair with Captain Kirk. “So by doing it in public, I show people it’s a job... like being a plumber of an electrician.”
Ellison composes the way he always has, on a manual typewriter, no Internet connection ever required, so he could work anywhere. These days, most bookshops have Wi-Fi. Looking to promote your book or your business? Consider working with a window view.
Hitch Up the Trailer
For years companies have relied on mobile office trailers for temporary office space. According to Mobile 360, “Pre-manufactured and portable, mobile offices can be available quickly and come with available features such as plumbing and climate control.”
The term “mobile” may be a bit misleading, however, as the mobility relates to easy transport to a site where they stay put until needed elsewhere. It may be a good place to hang out while your house or office is under construction.
But if you really want to go mobile, then you need to get your recreational vehicle wired. You can install your own satellite technology, though this isn’t inexpensive. But if you’re doing all the driving on your own, just about every RV park offers Wi-Fi these days for when you do go off road and need to do a little work.
Related Article: Health, Happiness and Office Design
You could have the most ordinary office space and it wouldn’t matter if it was someplace exotic, like Thailand or Spain or, closer to these shores, Miami. According to the Nomad List, here are the top five places (based on such criteria as cost of living and weather) for “digital nomads” to check out for their next workplace location:
- Ko Lanta, Thailand
- Taipei, China
- Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, Spain
- Budapest, Hungary
- Hermosillo, Mexico
And if you’re wondering how to get there, remember: You can always borrow someone’s yacht. And get some work done on the way.