I am fortunate enough to have a job that I am not needed in the office every day in order for my business to function properly. I am needed to stay on top of things, for sure. While I am a bit of a creature of habit and, most assuredly someone that needs a ‘place to go’, I generally work from 1 of 3 locations, with one of those actually housing my ‘official’ desk. Looking at ways to break those habits is an effort I continuously endeavor.
As I endeavor … toward the end of last year I realized I was in need of adventure and decided that a new ‘rule’ in my life is that no longer will I ‘dial in’ New Year’s eve. Even though it is an arbitrary starting line, it felt important that going forward, I set the right ‘tone’ for each and every future New Year’s and do something new and exciting.
Having just had the time of my life in August at Edinburgh’s Fringe Festival, I decided to return to my new happy spot and ring in the year with the Hogmany Street Party at the base of Edinburgh’s glorious castle. That would be my final 2016 adventure. Once committing to that distance of travel, it seemed that I should make a bit of a stay of it. I decided to avail myself of the myriad of coworking locations in Scotland, and put to the test the workspace flexibility that I preach each day as the COO of CloudVO. So, of a 12 day vacation, 6 included weekend and government holidays and 1 was a full day in the air, so I scheduled 5 to work.
This, I am pleased to say, is a brilliant way to have a vacation! This may sound like an oxymoron, but a ‘working vacation’ is a great experience. Allow me to share my working vacation ‘diary.’
Work Day 1 was the 6th day of my trip and I’d been busy at the tasks of fun, so, I took advantage of the time difference and didn’t rise from the comfy bed of my Airbnb until mid-morning. I decided that I would actually spend the first day in my rented flat reviewing and attending to emails. That took about 6 hours to get fully caught up and I called it a day. I then strolled the lovely Stockbridge neighborhood, got Indian take away, and spent a fun evening with my most delightful Airbnb host.
Work Day 2 was the next day. I had a glorious, yet ice-ly brisk walk through the beautiful neighborhoods of Edinburgh to Kingsford Business Club’s coworking location. The staff there had welcomed me to Edinburgh the day before and were ready for me. Upon arriving, the dashing Greg and the lovely Diane took great care to get me situated. The space was beautiful, well-appointed and comfortable.
As my work is mostly email-based these days, Day 2 looked much the same as Day 1; highly efficient for a vacation, though. I spent several hours working, got quite a bit done. Then, I hit the road to meet a friend to enjoy the last days of the Christmas Market, have some Gluhwein, and then off to a fabulous dinner in the city.
Work Day 3, Friday. A friend of mine works in Glasgow and we decided to take a quick trip to Stonehaven, near Aberdeen for the weekend. I worked at Collabor8te, a fantastic facility perfectly located in downtown Glasgow.
I arrived early, and since the owner Teresa was in the midst of guest hosting on BBC Scotland’s radio show about workplace issues, Steve welcomed me and showed me around. Steve was so informative and helpful and spent so much time with me, I thought he was an owner as well. Nope, a business consultant, who although just a member, surely considers Collabor8te his own. (He and I had one of those great conversations which showed our business interests are very much aligned and we committed to staying connected to help each other out …. me help his clients with business address services in the US, and he to make some helpful introductions in Scotland.) Here, I had such a successful day, I actually moved away from the ‘urgent’ list of tasks and accomplished a few items on the business development list. Very exciting!
Work Day 4, Monday. I was back in Edinburgh and decided I’d go to The Melting Pot. This non-profit coworking space, steps from Princes Street, has been operational for an impressive 10 years. When I arrived I was a bit confused by the entrance at the ground floor of the building as it is a secure entrance (trust me, the issue was ‘user error’) but, as luck would have it, I met David, the communications director for TMP, and that launched another successful day of coworking in a very vibrant and busy coworking location.
TMP was the busiest location on my tour. There were at least 20 people working at desks from pretty early in the day and a noticeable increase in workers about 2:00 pm in the afternoon. There was a lot of activity in their meeting rooms too. As I was leaving Scotland early Wednesday morning, I used my time after work to stroll the shops on George Street, pick up a few trinkets to bring home to my family and have some dinner. A great evening after a successful day.
One fantastic outcome of each day was the chance to meet some of the loveliest, nicest people. Isn’t that a perk of any vacation? A coworking-cation is no different. I did get quite a bit accomplished. The major downsides were: 1) the 8 hour time difference which doesn’t allow for much collaboration with my team at home and 2) I am used to spending a fair amount of time on the phone. I admit to some distraction when hearing my fellow coworkers on their cell phones near me, and I felt uncomfortable taking or making calls in the main working spaces. Neither of these will stop me from coming up with another place to replicate the coworking-cation experience, however.
At each location, I had the opportunity to discuss with my hosts CloudVO and our shared commitment to creating something better in the workspace world; for our clients, for our communities, and for ourselves as a fun place to show up to work. I asked Kingsford Office, Collabor8te, and The Melting Pot to join our growing network and each agreed. I cannot recommend enough to our CloudVO clients these 3 newest options for flexible workspace.