No one looks forward to a day at the office–no matter how much free cold brew is on tap. We all dream of that digital nomad life, kicking up our feet at the beach while knocking out a day of emails. Mojitos optional.
So I very much understand what the South African shared workspace company Work & Co (not to be confused with the New York digital design agency Work & Co) was thinking when it developed the Nova workspace–an office on wheels, which you can rent for $250 a day, and in exchange, the company will tow it to a uniquely beautiful location. I just didn’t imagine that the office would look like this: a horse trailer, but for humans.
I mean, don’t get me wrong, there’s effort here! You have velvet upholstery (seating for six!), a hip little wallpapered corner, and plenty of windows for panoramic views of the scenery. You have coffee, shade, and a bathroom–fulfilling the three core components of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs When Working Remote. What more could you want?
There’s just something odd when you imagine how this would play out in real life. You’re standing in some beautiful spot in the middle of nowhere, then you leave nature to climb into this trailer-hitched pod to work, like half your body is on vacation, and half is taking up residence in a food truck. Couldn’t a fold-out chair with a built-in umbrella basically do the same thing, without this little pseudo-room?
To me, it’s the modern work equivalent of those music videos where there’s a big king bed with white linens set up on a beach. What would you really want to do with that bed? So you’re really going to sleep without slathering your body in suntan lotion? You plan to have sex with some family building a sand castle next to you? You really want a down comforter in 80-degree weather? No! It’s an illusion of comfort, dreamed up by some weird producer’s fantasy. The Nova is a similar mirage. It isn’t offering a day at the beach; it’s a day, spent on Slack, in a little cage at the beach.
That said, I guess I’d take sand and palm trees over graffiti murals and trust falls with the boss in James Turrell rooms any day so…sign me up? I mean it really can’t be worse than an open office anyway.