The Digital Nomad


Tie? You must be joking, mate.

Socks? Not where I’m going.

Take my PC? No thanks. This is the week I joined the legion of Mac fans. An ultra-lightweight one at that…

In fact let’s just cut straight to the chase. Why are you wasting your time in North Yorkshire? Surely you can run your business from a laptop by now? What are you doing in Selby when you could be in Santorini? Malton or Monterrey? Pocklington or Pattaya? Sounds tempting, doesn’t it…

Maybe I’m being flippant, but it’s a serious point. If all your business needs is a laptop and an internet connection, well, there are plenty of places with more sunshine than our corner of the world and where you can live far more cheaply.

I’ve been thinking about this for a while – yes, we’re in Ireland next week but I promise we’re coming back – as the ‘digital nomad’ seems to be getting an ever-higher profile.

I read an interesting article on the BBC website recently about PR boss, Chris Ward, who hasn’t worked in an office for ten years, choosing instead to base himself in coffee shops and assorted McDonald’s throughout Europe. Chris has written a book about his thoughts, appropriately called Out of Office.

His basic premise is simple:

The great thing about the internet is that it’s freed people from the office. We don’t have to be tied to our desks any more. We can work where and when we like.

He goes on to argue that creative people would be far more fulfilled – and far more productive – if they were out and about, believing that the ‘noise and buzz’ of a coffee shop stimulates the imagination.

I can see his point: I know that if I’m working in say, a Costa, I have to concentrate that little bit harder; interestingly though, that extra concentration does produce some great – and often unexpected – results.

But at this point I’m just going to hide behind the sofa for a while – because I know this blog is read by a lot of people who simply cannot leave the office. I appreciate that those of you in manufacturing, the law, accountancy (not to mention any doctors out there) simply cannot slope off to the nearest beach with the latest MacBook Air.

Not every day, anyway.

‘If you always do what you’ve always done, then you’ll always get what you’ve always got.’ Yes, it’s a cliché, but like a lot of business clichés it contains a large slice of the truth. We go into the office, we sit at our desks, we go for a sandwich at roughly the same time every day and we have roughly the same sandwich. That’s not a pattern of behaviour that encourages creative thinking – and whatever your business, you’re an entrepreneur and you need to be creative.

So here’s my challenge for August. For one day, take your laptop/Mac/iPad/pencil and paper and work somewhere completely new. Different place, different sandwich at lunchtime – and hopefully a different way of working on your business. And then report back at the end of the month – let me know how it went.

In the meantime we’re off to Galway for the week. The blog will return – refreshed, invigorated and written in a coffee shop – on Friday August 16th. If you’re going on holiday in the next few weeks, have a brilliant time – and I’ll talk to you all soon.

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One comment

  1. Mark Campbell · August 2, 2013

    A true point. In a TED talk, a chap raises the issue of how much we spend on office space, decor and general running cost of office space. Then he talks of the staff poll results……the question is “where do you go, when you want to get work done?”. When the office is at the bottom of the list; it raises serious questions! Great blog

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