In 2014, I defined the concept The Global Office. From being something just simmering in my mind, I then gave it a name.
As all other people, I enjoy travelling, but unlike most, I like to work when I travel. This is perhaps due to my hard-working gen, or out of love for my job – or maybe because I realized how much more I got inspired, when I got out from the office or design studio. It simply enhanced the quality of my work, and made my perception of things broader.
There are of course huge benefits from being in the office such as spending time with your colleagues and sharing thoughts and ideas. This is a part from the very obvious reasons of getting into the office: working – as in getting things done. I have to admit that many things are a lot easier, when you sit under the same roof; processes are easier, and so is communication (if we actually chose to speak to our colleagues instead of just sending them an email though they sit next door or in the same open plan space). But I also believe that it’s only a limited amount of things that are actually only possible in an office. It’s no longer necessary to have an office, as the only space where an employee can work, and is expected to do so every day from 9-6.
This exact topic has been boiling in my mind for quite many years, and back in 2006 when I met with a really talented lady from Future Concept Lab, I imagined how my first article to impress her would be about this theme. It was backed up – and still is – by the mega trends of urbanizing with the growing cities and technology.
This means renting an office space become more expensive, and as also private housing becomes more expensive, people move further and further out into the suburbs. Then the commuting time into the city becomes longer – all very expensive and ineffective. Instead the office should be reduced to a minimum, and a home office should be installed in peoples’ private homes. No more moving millions of people around in peak hours for hours. Interacting with your colleagues and clients would still be possible with technology, which is changing how we live.
Later I articulated The Global Office on my webpage, and it’s still a topic, I find hugely interesting. Flextime (where you plan your own time and are free to work from home) is relatively normal in Denmark within certain fields and companies, and there are huge benefits for both employees and companies. So many times did I hear colleagues and friends mentioning that when they had to do really important work or concentrate, they would take the work with them home. I’ve also done this myself, when I had to prepare lessons for my students.
For many years, I was lucky to work as a freelance designer, which I combined with teaching. Teaching is something that also gives you a lot of freedom, as you have a very flexible work schedule and very long holidays. Being a freelance designer means working for different companies on contracts defined for a certain amount of time or project. You may be requested to come to the studio occasionally to liaise with your colleagues, but most of the times, you’re not expected to being there full-time. I structured my work, so I would always bring my laptop and a couple of folders with fabric swathes from the collection, I was currently working at, and then travel whenever an opportunity came along. For me, as I already mentioned, it made my work more interesting, and it also gave me insight knowledge into the global fashion world.
So, The Global Office is the idea of seeing the whole world as your work place. It’s also about having a more holistic view on life, as something that isn’t neatly separated in work and free time, in commuting time and arriving, but as one entity offering you the opportunity of doing great things. It’s an idea of always bringing your camera, laptop, sketchbook and pens or whatever you need to work. You need, of course, to be very disciplined, as it can be hard to work, when you just arrived in a new place or sit next to the beach or pool, but I still prefer it any time. It’s like working indoor when it’s sunny outside – I still prefer good weather no matter what I have to do.
Some professions are of course easier to travel with than others, as you may need to bring little or a lot of stuff with you. Certain periods too can be hard to travel in if you need to make a lookbook, travel to a factory to overlook proto types etc. I’m not saying it’s always possible – I’m just sharing a possibility, which I find really amazing. And no, it’s not holiday or free time though it can seem that way. It’s a life style with a lot of work, but one I find really interesting.
An open mind, passport, laptop, phone, sketchbook, some clothes, loads of recharging devices so you don’t run out of battery and ready you are to go to work at The Global Office.