Is my mobile office a pipe dream?

by Peter Crocker

When I started my writing business, part of the dream was being able to work from anywhere. While that is now quite feasible, I still spend most of my work hours plugged into an office. It begs the question: does the reality of the ‘laptop lifestyle’ live up to the dream?

Pushing the extremes of ‘working from anywhere’, app developer David McKinney created the ultimate mobile workspace by converting his Ford Transit van into a nomadic office on wheels.

Since reading David’s article ‘Redesigning The Office’ last year, I’ve been dreaming of refurbished vans, polished floorboards, leather couches and soaking up the sun on Freshwater headland while achieving new heights of productivity!

In his description, filled with location photos, he shows step-by-step how he converted his van, and answers the most common questions he gets about power, batteries, broadband, costs and more.

It is clear from his post that David loves the freedom of a mobile office:

“It has all the usual office things like Wi-Fi, AC power, and a desk for working. It also has a couch for thinking, and a view and fresh air. And it’s always near the ocean or a place for exploring.

This has been my main office for the last year or so, and it’s my favourite place for intense, focused work. But what about working together with your colleagues? That’s easy — just drive over… I love it.”

Before thoughts of an office van took the concept to a whole new level, my laptop-lifestyle dreams originally included less ambitious options like working from cafés, libraries or the beach and evensetting up a backyard studio or taking extended working holidays.

While I do work away from the office for a few hours at a time each week (usually at a local café), I inevitably find myself back at my familiar desk for the largest blocks of productive time.

There are plenty of legitimate reasons why working from anywhere may not suit a lot of people: hands-on work, client meetings, customers, colleagues, young kids running around, the need for big monitors or equipment, power struggles, air-conditioning, space, comfortable lounges, landlines, kitchen, bathrooms… the list goes on.

Indeed, despite hearing a lot about the idea of travelling around Australia (or the world), living the laptop-lifestyle while running a business, no one I know is actually doing it.

There’s no doubting the romantic appeal of escaping the desk, but perhaps the reality is that the convenience of having your own dedicated workspace outweigh the freedoms of working from anywhere. I’d love to think not, but perhaps my mobile office is a pipe dream?

Whether you’re working today from a café, office, van, third bedroom, airport, library, co-working space, tent, ironing board, bus or cubicle, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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