On my way back from San Francisco last Friday, I was intrigued to find people sitting on the airport’s floors near to power sources in order to get plugged in. As I myself, had a 4 hour wait at the airport, I wanted to kill some time by conducting work. But wait a minute, sitting on the floor, really? I found a nice work place with a personal space, but for some reason there were no electricity running to the tables on the picture above. My laptop battery ran out quite fast, and soon I found myself on the floor as well, despite my initial skeptical reaction.
The workforce of today is moving towards more flexible work practices and people are practically conducting work anywhere, any time. People are utilizing every possible space for work, and more and more people want to occasionally conduct work outside the office environment. People on the move, often kill time by carrying out a bit of work here and there. However, as I have experienced, at airports, at cafés and at other third work places, it can be really hard to find a place with electricity. This is a basic need of most knowledge workers, and I find this to be a concrete obstacle when trying out new spaces for work.
Some places have taken a concrete step to integrate power sources into their tables, e.g. Vapiano in the Centre of Helsinki, where I combined my lunch with a work session some time ago. These places are, however still rare. This raises a question whether restaurants and cafés want to remain as such, or whether they want to support the stream of flexible work, by providing people with enough electricity and spaces for work. In addition, I wonder how long it is okay to work at a café, by only buying a cup of coffee. These are some of my own experiences and question marks.
What are your experiences of working form third places? How do different places and spaces support your possibilities to work?