Walking through the town of Rochefort the other day I chanced across this man sitting on a park bench in amongst the trees with his smartphone attached to his laptop. He was wearing a sunhat suggesting he wasn’t here entirely by chance (there’s some evidence of forethought) and I wondered if this was a favourite spot of his. I also immediately thought “What a great place to choose to work”. I know we talk about flexible workspaces these days, so this got me wondering “what’s the best place to work?”
Of course the answer depends on the questions of what work you need to do, but I just wonder how aware you are of how the environment you are working in affects the work itself.
Here’s a photo I took from a high rise hotel in Tokyo –
Well, obviously this is a different kind of “outside working” – if your job is to clean windows, you’re not going to be short of work here! But I got to thinking of the people on the other side of the glass. In a big city like Tokyo you see thousands and thousands of office windows. When you look at night time you can see white shirted people sitting at row upon row of desks. That’s quite a work environment. I wonder how often the office workers look out the window and if they do, do they see the sky above, the thousands of windows opposite, reflecting their own windows, or the tiny cars and people rushing by on the roads way, way down below. Do window cleaners look down? Ha! I guess not everyone could do that particular job.
“Working outside” reminded me of what I think was a student in Aix en Provence one evening.
I’m not sure if this was his job, if he was studying, or if he was performing. I only noticed him because I heard his voice. He was reading his book out loud and I had to look up to find the source of the voice. When I was a medical student in Edinburgh my most favourite place to study was the Botanic Gardens. But I didn’t read the textbooks out loud!
One more image came to mind while I was on this subject. Years ago we had a flat in a chateau just outside Aix en Provence and one week the proprietor was having roofing work done. One thing you quickly become aware of is that in France everyone stops for a lunch break. Arriving back from town one lunch time I found one of the workers having a post-prandial nap.
Now, I’ve always claimed that sleeping is one of my core skills. I think all those nights on call both in hospitals and in General Practice gave the opportunity to develop the skill of falling asleep quickly and waking up quickly. I, too, have fallen asleep in some surprising places, but never inside a wheelbarrow!
Well, back to my original question –
Where do YOU find you do your best work?
Do you have any particularly favourite places or environments?