The mobile working lie

The idea that mobile technology has reshaped the modern workplace, allowing people to work anywhere, anytime has, over the course of recent history, become an accepted business maxim. However, it ignores one fundamental truth: how important your environment is to successfully doing business.

There’s no doubt that it has become more convenient than ever to work on the go, and it’s not surprising that 86% of businesses today have some kind of remote working setup.

Improved mobile devices, better wireless connectivity, 4G and advancements in productivity software have all made a huge difference to our ability to get things done away from the office.

>See also: Microsoft, BYOD and the great mobile working debate

Indeed, for a lot of what we need to do, mobile working is sufficient. The various technologies available allow workers to stay in touch with colleagues and contacts while on the move, and provide a useful alternative to time spent travelling that might otherwise have been wasted.

But whether meeting with prospects and partners, or looking to be left undisturbed and undisrupted for a while, it can be invaluable to have a ‘somewhere’ to work from; a space that you can control to your specifications.

Most people business have encountered a situation when working remotely was less than ideal – for example, trying to land an important piece of new business by phone while a barista operates a noisy espresso machine behind you and calls out customer orders, or struggling with intermittent Wi-Fi at a time when running a seamless video call couldn’t be more important.

The lengths some people go to in order to find a quiet spot on the move for a discussion can be quite ludicrous, but so necessary to keep sensitive information confidential. While a useful option to have, mobile working is certainly not the fail-safe solution for all circumstances and it’s not right for everyone.

Many workers will recognise the frustration of those moments without yet identifying a solution – so far it’s clearly been the missing piece of the mobile working jigsaw puzzle. That puzzle is now being completed as a new commodity – meeting space – starts trading in a shared economy that has proved so successful for the accommodation and transportation sectors, among others.

Having that ‘somewhere’ to work from traditionally meant that businesses leased an office space large enough to house all their employees, with the expensive rents and high overheads as part and parcel of the setup.

That’s clearly not feasible for small businesses or the self-employed, and – as the rise of new modes of productivity like hot-desking and co-working shows – these days, it’s less and less desirable for larger companies too.

In recent years, the coffee shop has been the default location for those working remotely outside the office and the home, but there is another option.

Globally, there are vast numbers of meeting rooms that are fully equipped and staffed, and come stocked with the latest technology. These are spaces in hotels, offices, conference centres and other venues, which often sit empty and could instead be matched with mobile workers to increase occupancy and boost revenues for the owners.

They are ready and waiting to be matched up with the professionals whose needs they best fulfil, and with bookings of as short a time period as an hour possible, they are affordable to even the smallest of businesses.

A space to call yours – whether for whole days or even just an hour or two – is an environment better suited to success in business than any other. It means greater control over noise levels, better digital infrastructure and fewer distractions from the general public.

For meetings with prospects and partners, a hired meeting space projects a more professional image than a chain coffee shop, presenting the company as one that treats its collaborators and their concerns with the care and respect they would expect. It also offers something else of intrinsic value to your business:  the headspace to focus on the task at hand, and a blank canvas for creative thinking.

>See also: 75% of workers admit to being less productive away from their desks – but would technology change that?

Where it has previously been challenging for companies and individuals to find the right meeting space to match their needs, that’s no longer the case as the process of finding, comparing and booking rooms online is reinvented.

While mobile working is still invaluable, business professionals now no longer need to rely on mobile devices and connectivity in every ‘out of office’ situation. Meeting spaces to suit every worker’s criteria are more accessible than ever before, so having that ‘somewhere’ to work from is easily within reach for all.

So, while people rely on mobile working in certain situations and champion its usefulness for productivity on the go, perhaps, in time, the importance of working environments to achieving success will also be recognised – or rediscovered – as an accepted business truth.


Sourced from Caleb Parker, CEO,

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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