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Why you don’t need an office any more

Elizabeth Kesses
By Elizabeth Kesses Published on 15 November 2011

Being a freelancer I can work where I want. No more stuffy, stagnant offices chained to a desk like something out of the Matrix. No more backbiting at the water cooler. And no more dreary cheese sandwiches and a Diet Coke for lunch.

Why you don’t need an office any more

Now I can flow into places as and when I feel inspired. The common haunts are my sitting room, Paris cafes (ones with squishy sofas or a nice terrasse for the summer), my gym club.

There are then the specials. These are the places where you are treated like a queen and so you end up working like one too - the Carlton Hotel pontoon in Cannes, Eurostar business lounge and les grands restaurants. The only snag with these places is that your client may end up hearing a screeching seagull or the tinkling of loungey music.

Probably the best was a conference call in Dubai on the super smart beach of the Bourg el Arab, smoking shisha and wind blowing a gale into the phone. I think I had some particularly cracking ideas that day.

Then there are the practical places like in a G7 taxi or on a park bench in the Tuileries. I wrote these chroniques in all of these places - writing them in the place they feature has made the whole experience more real. Sometimes my beau is bemused by my furious tapping on my iPhone mid dance floor or underneath the dinner table.

The downsides of no fixe abode are the annoying practicalities. WIFI being main one. O to be like NYC with its internet filled streets. Certain haunts such as Costes have free WIFI but then paying 10 Euro for a teeny-weeny coffee does not really make it worth it. The waitresses also get a bit snotty after you have taken an hour to sip half your espresso.

There is also that hugely irritating moment when 20% appears on your iMac, iPad or iPhone and there is no charger or power point available. I now carry two phones for this reason. Freelancers need to be connected always to be free.

None of these issue are of course a problem at the chic-est dwellings of Paris. I have tested out the comfiest sofas and milkiest lattes at all the swishest hotels and department stores.

You could not find more sumptuous office environments. I also meet clients in hotels now.

Less formal than a dull meeting room and is a huge style statement to offer a fresh mint tea or hand squeezed carrot juice. The Park Hyatt is probably my favourite with its cosy open fire and understated lounge. It is also fairly business orientated there so I am not mistaken for an escort.

That's the other problem. A lady alone nursing a diet coke is a bit cliché - even if I’m absorbed in an email and wearing un-VIP Ugg boots and leggings.

The bathrooms are also quite fabulous - I have on occasion changed outfits and made up for the evening. Not so easy to negotiate in the grotty loo in the bowels of a grubby cafe. Great hotels simply inspire greatness. Deals are done, VIPs are often in the Suites and success is contagious.

For this reason I would advise every self employed person to get out there. Working from home is a nice easy option. But it can become a rut, not only taking lustre out of work but also the carefree joy from your home.

Do I miss the joking banter working in an office - maybe for an instant - but then I remember the politics and nastiness that went with it and am glad I am now free as a bird.

It is high time to ditch the desk!

peace harmony laughter and love
Brit Chick

Brit Chick recommends:

239 rue Saint honoré
Tel +33 1 42 44 50 00

Brit Chick says: WIFI and sashimi

Park Hyatt
5 Rue de la Paix
Tel +33 1 58 71 12 34

Brit Chick says: super slick service, great coffee and professional meetings


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by Elizabeth Kesses