Before I left my last job, I moved interstate and the company set up a local workplace in a serviced office. We had a room with four desks and a separate meeting room, hosted by one of the dominant providers. Simple and effective, but also spartan and completely soulless. While that certainly wasn’t why I left, the thought of working in that office for the foreseeable future wasn’t uplifting. At best, a spartan office encourages focus by lacking distractions, but, as humans, we like environments that reflect our personalities and perhaps even our imperfections.
Now take cafés. I love a good one. Not coincidentally, I find that 80% of my work meetings, both internal and external, take place over a coffee in a café. It removes some formality, which encourages more open discussion, and can build better relationships. Sometimes there are almost back-to-back coffees with people through a day. Over-caffeination is a real risk. I also find a cafe an excellent place to work solo, away from office interruptions, and I find my best creative or strategic thinking seems to come from such an environment.
So, the idea… a serviced office in a café. You turn up, maybe to a reserved table, and pay cover charge to the café, maybe $20 an hour. For that you get some decent wi-fi, access to a wireless printer, a power outlet for your laptop or phone charger, and a clean bathroom. The music is discreet, you order drinks and food separately, maybe to a minimum spend. Conduct your business, meet associates and customers, do your work, all in a relaxed environment and without the need to consistently pay your way with coffee and sandwiches. It’s not a substitute for a corporate office, but I suspect good enough for many, particularly solo workers or mobile sales reps.
Maybe it exists already, it’s just not here yet. Either way, I see opportunity.