I am an avid workshifter – although I commute regularly to our headquarters in lovely Santa Barbara, I am based in our new and stylish downtown San Francisco office. I frequently need to meet people in a wide range of locations in and around the Bay Area – sometimes the airport, or Citrix Systems‘ Santa Clara office, or even from my home office mid-way on the peninsula between San Francisco and San Jose. As I travel, I am always on the lookout for places where I can arrange business meetings away from formal office environments – usually as a matter of convenience – saving time and enabling me to be more productive.
In doing so, I have observed how places around us are responding to the progressive increase in people workshifting. It is interesting to see how these changes are being reflected in everyday places people go and how space is being used differently. For instance, we are increasingly used to being able to connect to the Internet and work at airports, or in coffee shops and even book shops. Coffee shops are almost becoming a standard place for people to meet and work outside of their formal offices, particularly when people are working from home but don’t want to necessarily invite business acquaintances into the privacy of their own homes. What is interesting is how other locations are now adjusting to enable people to meet and work.
For instance, one example is my local athletic center. As you can imagine, this has always been popular and is busy with people coming and going using the wide range of facilities that are offered – well-equipped gyms, tennis courts, pools, basketball, volleyball and badminton courts, a spa and café, to name but a few of the attractions. The center has recently started a remodeling project and, as part of this, is creating additional meeting places and enclaves from which one can work, provided with additional power outlets and free wifi.
Their membership includes using the central location, easy access (just off freeway 101), free parking, free wifi, and a pleasant environment in which to mix business and pleasure. Meet friends and business contacts in less formal surroundings, enjoy the facilities and get work done. There are even facilities provided where parents can leave their children under professional supervision while using the facilities for business or pleasure.
I have occasionally used the center as a place both to work or to meet contacts for business purposes and usually find that I am not alone. It is really becoming a blended facility – work, relax, play, meet, whatever – from early in the morning to late at night. As the traditional boundaries between work time and free time disappear, so the way we have previously used facilities is also starting to change to reflect this new reality, as evidenced by my local athletic center. It will be interesting to see how other places may change to reflect the new reality that is workshifting.
Have you ever tried workshifting at your local athletic club? What was your experience?
Photo Credit: redlionhoteldenver