Going mobile: 25 surprising new workplaces

Work is something you do, not a place you go to every day. Laptops, tablets and smartphones mean that people can work almost anywhere and be productive. This article showcases some of the more exciting, interesting and extraordinary new workplaces.

Mobile working is on the rise. More than 80 percent of IT leaders surveyed by Computerworld in late 2012 said their enterprises were either implementing or exploring mobility solutions; and over half said mobility is critical or very important to their organisations.

And it’s a good job. People do their best thinking and have their most creative ideas in the most unusual of places; and nearly half of British organisations reported an increase in employee engagement as a result of bring your own device (BYOD), translating into enhanced productivity for 46 percent of them.

Thankfully, a lot of weird and wonderful places now have Wi-Fi, the key element of mobile working, so all that’s left is for companies to enable their employees to work in these surprising new spots by providing appropriate apps, collaborative clouds, delightful devices and sophisticated security.

25 surprising new workplaces explored

1. The Royal Festival Hall. No really. Free to go in and use their Wi-Fi, beautiful and with membership there’s even access to dedicated collaboration space.

2. Hotel lobbies. You don’t have to be a guest; hit them at the right time, around 9 or 10 in the morning, and lobbies are often pretty quiet. Plus there’s the added bonus of occasional free food and coffee.

3. Coworking hubs. These are becoming ever more popular and are especially good for teams
or collaborative client meetings.

4. On a flight to LA. On-board Wi-Fi has been
available on planes for a while, but the speeds
haven’t been great. The future
is looking good though thanks to the launch of
Ka-band satellites.

5. On the beach when you get to LA. Hermosa Beach in California launched free Wi-Fi back in
2008, so you can surf by the surf.

6. Bookshops. Something a little different from
coffee shops, and during the week they’ll
tend to be quieter too.

7. The spa. Many spas offer day passes so you
don’t necessarily need expensive membership
and it’s a great way to combine exercise,
de-stressing and concentration.

8. Kew Gardens. With hotspots in the café and
dotted around the gardens, how much more of
a beautiful workspace could you ask for?

9. Wherever’s nearest. Thanks to the handy app
Worksnug, you can find your nearest and best
mobile working spaces wherever you are.

Deciding on the right device

Of course it all depends on what type of work you do, how much collaboration is needed and what sort of terrain you’ll be travelling through as to which mobile device is best for you.

Samsung has a range of smartphones and tablets, including the new Galaxy NotePRO. Galaxy NotePRO

The 12.2” 4 Mega pixel display means more color, more information and more detail. This versatile screen allows you to “flip” through digital magazines and review detailed work documents.

Plus, Multi Window on the Galaxy Pro Series means four different screen views at the same time. Browse the web, watch a video, edit a document and play a game at the same time. Perfect for productivity.

10. The pub. Ok, maybe not an everyday office, but there’s nothing wrong with occasionally easing into the weekend with a Friday afternoon’s work with a pint.

11. On a conference bike. Meetings can be a major time-suck, but if they can be mobile they can help you get some fresh air and provide some exercise too.

12. Coffee shops. Not surprising perhaps, but how productive you can be in them might be. Studies have shown that the constant hum in coffee shops is perfect for knuckling down and getting stuff done.

13. Church. Very surprising, but many local churches do offer free Wi-Fi now, and they are calm and quiet. Might be best to leave a little something in the collection plate if you do make use of one though.

14. A log cabin. Thoreau might have gone to the woods to live deliberately, but there’s no reason you can’t go to work deliberately. Getting away from the familiarities and pressure of everyday life can help you focus.

15. On a walk. This might be best for offline
activities, but more and more parks are
providing Wi-Fi so sitting in a spot of sunshine
might just be the best pop-up office you’ve
ever been in.

16. The British Library. Or any library really,
they're not just for students and will often have
good access to power sockets and of course
additional information resources.

17. On your way. Trains, coaches – even taxis
– now offer internet access so as long as you
don’t suffer from travel sickness, you
no longer need to take a day’s holiday just
to get from A to B.

Ensuring security: Samsung KNOX

‘KNOX is designed to balance the security requirements of the business without interfering with the user experience by splitting the enterprise and the personal environments, so employees can have a single device for work and personal communications.’ – Graham Long, Samsung.

Samsung Knox

Samsung KNOX covers platform security, application-level security and device management to keep company data safe from prying eyes or criminals hands.

18. Art galleries. Many have seating areas,
cafes and Wi-Fi, and offer a useful
distraction for those who are a fan of the
Pomodoro technique.

19. National Football Museum. Not all great
cultural attractions with free Wi-Fi, café and
interesting and inspiring surroundings are
in London of course.

20. Mount Everest. Why not ping off a few
emails or work on a presentation while resting
between climbs? Wi-Fi is available up to 17,000 feet.

21. The gym. Many gyms now have lounge
areas and healthy snacks. If you’re a member,
and going anyway, why not make the most
of their wireless to get some work done while
you’re feeling all pumped up and energised?

Pop in and print with NFC technology

Near field communication (NFC) is a way for mobile and other enabled devices to connect via touch.

Samsung, who released the world’s first NFC printer, now offers even more mobile devices and printers with this technology as a standard. So if you need to pop into the office to print something there is no messing about connecting to the network or finding a free PC and emailing your documents to yourself.

Instead you can walk in, tap your phone to the printer and straight away be able to can print, scan and fax virtually any content.

22. During a client meeting. No, not multi-tasking and getting distracted; rather with enterprise apps and cloud file storage, if the client wants to see something or know something that you haven’t prepared for, you can sort it there and then. No return trip to the office.

23. University. Don’t worry; you don’t have to become a poor student again to gain access. Many universities offer shared working spaces that are open to the public and alumni can often use libraries and other facilities too.

24. The North Pole. Not quite the most extreme place to offer wireless internet, but it’s pretty close.

25. Space. The final frontier, now with complimentary Wi-Fi. Virgin Atlantic is reporting that they will be providing internet access on their ($200,000) space flights. That’s probably the most expensive free Wi-Fi in the solar system.

The point is, with the right mobility initiative and a little creative thinking you could have a much happier, more productive and inspired workforce, wherever they are.