Two Pints of Lager and Wi-Fi, Please: ‘Pubworking’ an option for UK mobile workers?
by alexjohnson

 

UK ‘shedworking’ blogger Alex Johnson acknowledges the “obvious problems with spending too much time in the pub”, but asks whether ‘pubworking’ could be the Next Big Thing for flexible workers. What do you think?

More and more people are working from home in garden offices, spare bedrooms, kitchen tables, lofts and cellars. Plenty more are also working in other ‘third places’ such as coffee houses and coworking facilities. But there is a huge untapped resource for homeworkers – and homeworkers on the move – which is being overlooked: our pubs.

 

Pubs are the ideal place to inspire creativity and business activities. They’re a cornerstone of our culture, they’re plentiful, local, and they’re underused during exactly the hours many homeworkers need somewhere comfortable and relaxing in which to run their business.

‘Pubworking’ has much to recommend it. During the day, many pubs tend to be rather quiet and have few customers, yet their surroundings are generally congenial. Increasing numbers also now have wi-fi. Indeed, The Publican’s Morning Advertiser reported earlier this year that wi-fi is the most popular add-on service among pub-goers according to a study by Scottish and Newcastle Pub Company. From the homeworking nomad’s point of view, it seems a match made in heaven.

Of course there are some obvious problems with spending too much time in the pub, though of course many now offer non-alcoholic drinks during the day as well as snacks and food. Surely there is mutual benefit for both landlords and potential pubworkers in developing an ongoing relationship, maybe with informal dedicated work areas at certain hours of the day? Perhaps simple roomdividers could be used, attractive monthly useage rates established, and private rooms used for business meetings?

Here’s one example of what can be done with willing on both sides. For several months, an informal group of designers, copywriters and social media specialists in St Albans has been holding a popular monthly meeting which they call An Afternoon in the Pub (www.anafternooninthepub.co.uk). A local pub is the venue for this ‘business social’ which is not a formal networking event, more a pleasant afternoon to have a chat and a beer. Here’s what the organisers say: “The backbone of any town is its local businesses and we want the businesses of St. Albans to know that there is a free, relaxed, humour-filled environment where we can all get together, learn about each other, understand each other and see if there are ways in which we can help each other.”

“There is nothing which has yet been contrived by man,” wrote Samuel Johnson in 1776, “by which so much happiness is produced as by a good tavern or inn.” I think he’d have approved of pubworking too.

Photo credit: Anders Adermark

What do you think?

Could you take your laptop to the pub and get some work done? Would you be comfortable doing that? Or do you think you’d spend more time at the bar and less time at your desktop? Let us know, in the comments below.

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