Move your office to the beach

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I am writing this article whilst the weather temperature is 34 degrees centigrade. Meteorologists have forecast weeks of intense heat.  They have given warning of heat from Africa.

I remember back in 2003 when I was studying Journalism at the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, Doctor Mavi Dolz (may she rest in peace) would teach the class under the shade of a pine tree.  It was so hot inside the classroom that she very rightly guessed that our attention span and as a result the productivity of her efforts, would not be optimum.  From then on she decided we would work in the open air, it should be a right for any office employee at least once a year.

Is it possible to work at the beach? Quite possibly you never asked yourself this before.  We never did at Poko either, until the air conditioning packed up in mid July.  It was now 2009 and at the time, an office in the cloud still sounded like a kind of utopia and we were still confined to working within four walls.  So we picked up the essential bits and pieces and brought it all down to La Barceloneta where we set up in the sand for a day.  We worked until our laptop batteries said “enough!”.  No more than 3 hours.  Later we had a swim, chatted and made sandcastles in the sand until lunchtime.

If a part of the productivity of a company can be measured by its people’s happiness, I would have to day that that day at the beach was a highly productive day.

Bhutan is known for being the only country in the world that measures its richness in terms of Gross Internal Happiness, which should lead us to reflection as to whether in one works in the West to become richer, or to be happier.  What I am certain of is that a happier employee is a more productive employee.  I recently heard a successful entrepreneur from Silicon Valley say that the idea of “business” is evolving to move away from what it etymologically means; ‘denial of leisure’.   And he justified this by saying that one could not aspire to becoming the best at something they do not find entertaining.  Quite simply the person would be incapable of dedicating the necessary time in order to excel.

But when I speak about fun at work I do not mean putting fuzzball machines in the common room.  I am talking about enjoying doing what you do in order to earn your keep. Like Messi, the best professional in the world in his field, who gets annoyed with his manager every time he is obliged to take a rest.  And in order for one to enjoy working, the environment is a critical factor.