Screw getting a desk job

The Times Online has a nice piece about how the freelance work environment (read: Starbucks) has become the new office for thousands of laptop-toting writers and designers. Why tie yourself to a 9-5 shift in a dingy poorly-lit office complex when you can get almost all the same work done on your personal computer from anywhere in the world?

According to reports, there are now 2.4 million teleworkers in the UK, up from less than one million in 1997. Ditching the office is the most modern way to operate these days it seems. Watercooler culture is out – an umbilical attachment to a laptop and a mobile phone, and a willingness to travel, are in. So, as BlackBerry sales surge and the wifi cloud swirls around the country, public spaces are increasingly sprinkled with computers, freelancers and spiralling caffeine habits. Meanwhile, the really successful individuals are being referred to as the “kinetic elite”, a term coined by the Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas for high-net-worth individuals who work out of hotel lobbies, airport lounges and their expensive briefcases.

Ben Keene, entrepreneur and author of ‘Tribe Wanted: My Adventure on Paradise or Bust’, set up his eco-tribe on a remote Fijian island. He could often be found perched on a rock “trying to catch a phone signal”. Now based in London, he remains a mobile merchant: “There’d be huge costs in setting up an office: all I need is a laptop, a mobile and a passport; it’s totally transportable.” His resources are all online and free. He connects with his global team via free Skype and video-conference calls. But best of all is the dynamic: “I find the constant flow of movement and action and noise energising.”

I wanna do it! It’s like putting The 4-Hour Workweek into practice without the being a lazy and paying some guy in India to do all the small stuff part. Now if I could just guarantee myself a fixed income I’d be golden. Anyone need a website?

Times Online

This page was last updated on March 26, 2008.