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Is “Green Desking” the Perfect Workspace of the Future?

Is Green Desking rural coworking countryside the office of the future?

As waves of workers return from Labor Day to face an autumn of the New Normal, there’s an idea afloat that might make us all actually feel excited to head back to work: “green desking.” British Vogue reports that this is the Next New Thing in workspaces. And from what we can tell, it sounds pretty fantastic. Here’s everything you need to know about “green desking,” which is the concept of a shared rural coworking office space or workspace, located in the countryside instead of a big city.

in this new normal, is the country the new city?

It’s possible that the husband in Green Acres had it right all along when he belted out the following in the show’s opening theme song: “Keep Manhattan, just give me that countryside.”

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Many workers who are can be fully productive while un-tethered from their offices, especially those in a creative field, would be just as happy (maybe even happier) to have a country office and a city home. Or to just quit big cities altogether.

Could "green desking" in a rural coworking workspace be the future of work?

Could “green desking” in a rural coworking office – a shared workspace in the countryside – be the future of work?

You know, toss it all over, hit the reset button, start raising chickens . . . all while keeping your day job. Who could resist that?

if remote work is permanent, might as well make the most of it

Many companies, especially in tech, have announced that their employees won’t be returning to their corporate offices until 2021. And some have offered to make the switch to remote work a permanent option for their employees.

After all, lots of the employees of these companies have been working from home for months anyway. Now, some have the option to work remotely forever.

Could "green desking" in a rural coworking workspace be the future of work?

Could “green desking” in a rural coworking office – a shared workspace in the countryside – be the future of work?

So what’s an office worker to do? Well, dear reader, one option is to head for the hills. Or the beach. Or the forest. And more and more, there’s a chic coworking space waiting there for you.

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what is “green desking”?

Imagine this, if you will: a lovely bucolic green setting in which there is perfect WiFi connectivity. You can work in peace, without the constant cacaphony of urban life.

And yet when you choose, you can interact with creative and sophisticated types, just as if you were in the center of a big city. If you’re lucky, the food available is grown locally (perhaps even onsite). There might be a lawn or a hiking trail just steps away from your desk. You might even have a view of the sea.  

Could “green desking” in a rural coworking workspace – a shared workspace in the countryside – be the future of work?

If that’s your idea of nirvana, then green desking is your dream come true. More and more coworking spaces are opening in the countryside, or by the beach, or up in the mountains.

Of course, plenty of enterprising city dwellers have figured out how to do this for free on their own for years. Before there was Starbucks, there were urban parks – and some people used them as en plein air offices for years (weather permitting, of course).

The New York Times recently ran an adorable article about people basically “hot-desking” during the coronavirus pandemic in the city’s parks – some turn out to be quite territorial about their favorite green office spaces.

A variation on that theme is the rise of coworking spaces targeted at people who are on vacation: aka “workation” workspaces. These are meant to be temporary spaces for those of us who just can’t unplug. Like a hotel business center on steroids.

More recently, several Caribbean islands, including Bermuda, have announced new one-year work visa programs so that you “work from home” while soaking in the tropical views and balmy breezes.

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is green desking the right workspace for you?

There are several clear advantages to coworking from a remote or rural spot, whether its the countryside, an island, or a mountain.

First, there are fewer distractions, which can lead to more productive “deep work.” You could find that you form tighter connections with your fellow co-tenants, as you’re encouraged to hike, play outdoor games and bond in ways more organic than an office happy hour.

Could "green desking" in a rural coworking workspace be the future of work?

Could “green desking” in a rural coworking workspace – a shared workspace in the countryside – be the future of work?

It could increase your health and wellness. A study by the University of Alabama published earlier this year reports that simply being in a rural setting can provide a host of benefits. Like an increased feeling of life satisfaction.

Without question, it’s a lot easier to step outside and move, perhaps to gain the benefits of “forest bathing” with a walk or a run in the woods before you head back to your desk.

An additional benefit is that in most cases, the launch of a rural coworking space boosts the local economy. These coworking workspaces in the countryside usually become a source of employment for many in the community directly or indirectly.

what are the best rural co-working sites to try right now?

If you’re in on this idea, there’s been a global wave of rural co-working venues launching – this predates the coronavirus pandemic, but certainly seems to have been prescient. Some of these rural or resort locations offer “green desking” slots. Some have private offices and suites, some also offer co-living arrangements, and others double as hotels and corporate retreat sites.

Here are 5 to check out (or perhaps to check into):

1. Birch, Hertfordshire, England

Birch, located in an 18th-century former private residence in Hertfordshire, is a rural co-working space just 30 minutes outside London. Open just one month, it seems tailor-made for the new normal.

The new rural coworking office workspace Birch. Courtesy Photo.

Chris King co-founded Birch with Chris Penn, the hotelier who launched Ace Hotels in the UK in 2013. Birch membership costs £120 per month, with a £200 initiation fee. The food served here is grown in the kitchen garden. Children are allowed to come and watch kid-appropriate films in the screening rooms (as long as they’re well-behaved). And yes, there’s a wide expanse of lawn where one can play croquet.

2. Sende, northern Spain

Several big-name tech companies have sent their employees to live and work temporarily at the mountain retreat Sende in northern Spain. Sende is comprised of a series of mountain houses and gardens, with homemade food and “a supportive ambiance.”

Photo Credit: Sende.

3. Cowork Tahoe, Lake Tahoe, California

Cowork Tahoe is a South Lake Tahoe coworking space and innovation hub. Lake Tahoe is booming right now, with an influx of new residents due to the impact of the coronavirus. With Silicon Valley tech teams being told that there’s no need to show up at HQ, many have opted for a move to Lake Tahoe. Will this become the new Battery?

Best rural coworking office workspace: Lake Tahoe.

4. Sundesk, Taghazout, Morocco

Perhaps the most glamorous of the rural and resort coworking workspaces, SunDesk is located in Taghazout, a vibrant seaside Berber village in the north of Agadir, southern Morocco.

Could “green desking” in a rural coworking space the workspace of the future? Sundesk in Morocco. Courtesy Photo.

5. The Spur, the Hamptons, New York

Private coworking workspace The Spur  has two locations in the Hamptons: one in Water Mill village and the other in East Hampton (natch).

shared workspace countryside

Could “green desking” in a rural coworking space the workspace of the future? The Spur in East Hampton. Courtesy Photo.

The mass exodus of wealthy families from Manhattan to the Hamptons has fueled the demand for workspaces in bucolic places, so The Spur is on a growth spurt. The vision of the owners is to expand to additional high-end American resort towns. Places like Martha’s Vineyard, Aspen, Napa, and Palm Springs. Watch your back, SoHo House . . . 

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Is Green Desking the Perfect Office You Need Right Now?

Whether you’re a committed urban dweller in search of some calm and peace during your work day, a digital nomad with the world as your workplace, or an ex-urbanite who will happily escape the bounds of city life permanently if given the chance, there’s a workspace for that.

shared workspace countryside

Could “green desking” in a rural coworking space the workspace of the future?

If there is any silver lining from COVID-19, it’s that it has accelerated the trend of work-where-you-will. Now you can live where you want and work where you want – which sounds like the ultimate luxury, if you ask us. What do you think? Are you in on this? And if so, where in the world are you going to work?

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