A change of scene

Back in the day, I remember a new-starters' induction where a lady from HR gave a talk and said:

"Don't feel that you're chained to your desk; as long as the work gets done, we don't mind where you do it."

I found this liberating. It was an amazing working environment - a huge, open-plan office with some inspiring people, industrial strength espresso machines, and - wait for it - hair straighteners in all the loos (I know!). But nevertheless, there were occasions when it was like working in fog. Sometimes, clarity requires a change of scene, so during those times, I'd take my laptop to a bookshop around the corner and everything would be fine.

Later, when I switched to freelancing, I had romantic notions of 'living the dream' - working in coffee shops and parks and stately homes (yes - that actually crossed my mind). The reality hasn't quite lived up to that. Yes, I'll occasionally de-camp to a coffee shop if chats with the cat are becoming a little too deep - but most days are spent in my office. It's a perfectly lovely office - things DO get done and generally there's no place I'd rather work.

But, last month I found myself craving that change of scene, and a coffee shop just wasn't going to cut it. I needed something more drastic - somewhere I could go to develop a new idea that's been turning round in my mind for months, and maybe (just maybe) blast all of those admin tasks that have been languishing at the bottom of my to-do list for far too long. What to do?  Reader, I rented a beach hut. 

Beach hut interior

For one week, I occupied beach hut Number 9 on West Wittering beach, and it was everything that I needed it to be. That same week happened to be a heatwave, which meant that I had to get to the hut at crack of dawn to get a quiet few hours before the crowds arrived. I got a ton of admin done in those hours, then for the rest of each day I scribbled notes and sketched mind maps so, by the end of the week I had forged a plan and cleared my mind.

Beach hut with laptop

Now, I'm back in my office - refreshed and ready to push things forward. Turns out that a change of scene can be great for productivity AND good for the soul!

This article was updated on September 4, 2021

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