Work Wise Week: Does working in a pub really work?

In the spirit of Work Wise Week, IT PRO took to the streets to detail what it's really like to work while away from the office.

In a society where customers, including our consumer alter egos, know exactly what they want and where to go if you can't give it to them, the world of work no longer fits neatly into a 9-5 box.

Many professionals will have had some experience of using wireless access to work from home, in coffee shops, airport lounges and more recently on some train lines. IT PRO wanted to see what it would be like to work in one of the types of location being targeted by wireless hotspot providers. So, we headed to the pub to see what was possible and what wasn't.

Finding the right public house for your private office

Beer in the Evening

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Getting Connected

When settled in at the pub, the search for wireless connectivity proved a frustrating and ultimately fruitless one.

After refreshing the available network connection list at least 10 times nothing useful happened. All we found were two unsecured computer to computer networks and six security-enabled wireless networks. In addition, we were out of range of our office Wi-Fi offering.

With no connectivity and a desire to remain productive, we used the time to catch up on some unread email that had been cached on the laptop for offline reading. Like many busy professionals today, IT PRO journalists receive a huge amount of email, and just a small portion of each day can be dedicated to reading them, so any 'down time' is potentially good for catching up.

However, such 'down time' is not always a positive for the busy professional who needs to be connected, whether actually or virtually, to the goings on in the office all the time. Times are changing and more places than before are wirelessly-enabled, but there is still a long way to go before we get the kind of pervasive connectivity many both want and need.

Finding room at the inn

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Working without ready access to the IT department for support was interesting. A bout of poor performance by our standard company issue breezeblock of a laptop ensured it took a good 15 minutes from entering the pub and finding a seat before any work could be attempted.

IT PRO's experiment was intended to last just one hour, so the availability of plug sockets for more laptop juice wasn't a necessity. However, on surveying the area none were available on the public side of the bar and had they been, they were probably most likely the reserve of the cleaner or the fruit machine. Using any available sockets for a laptop would likely be quickly followed by the words "You're barred".

The right environment

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