Working has been an indoor experience for decades, at least for brain workers. However, the notion of the office as a central point of obligatory collaboration becomes slowly outdated. The modern working force of young brain workers does not accept working to be unpleasant in any form. Working has to be a fulfilling experience, and an expression of a lifestyle at the same time. After years of exploring the coffee bar as the new office, the discovery of public space as the new place to work is emerging. The new office is in the sun.
The City of Amsterdam is about to install so-called Zonspots (‘Sun Spots’) — small open air sun-powered desks with a shelter on top. All the inconveniences of working outside are taken away by this Dutch invention. There will be power to recharge the battery of the outdoor worker’s notebook and there will be Wi-Fi, free of charge. The shelter not only protects the outdoor worker for the rather irritating sunlight on the screen, but collects energy at the same time. The Zonspots will be installed in Amsterdam at several train stations this Spring, as well as at other nodes of public transport.
The Zonspots have a main goal in informing people about alternative energy and are therefore supported by the Amsterdam Smart City program. Using a Zonspot will be for free, which is possible because companies can sponsor the Zonspots and advertise their sustainable projects on them. For now the Zonspots are only planned in Amsterdam, which is perhaps not the best city for outdoor working, but other cities might also be interested in this 21th century phone booth.
In other cities without these public facilities, outdoor workers can purchase the so-called Openaire for comfortable working in the sun. The Openaire is a hybrid laptop bag that can be transformed into both a light-weight chair and a desk for outdoor use. Although the design by Nick Trincia does not provide electricity or Wi-Fi to its users, it does have a mouse solution and and gives geeks a more comfortable attitude when showing their notebook to others on the street. The Openaire is not available for purchase yet, but will according to Bit Rebels, considering this procuct to become one of the most important accessories for geeks the coming years.