The scoop on how to be a successful remote worker, from the South by Southwest Interactive conference in Austin, TX.
As a freelancer, you’ve no doubt thought about the kind of flexibility your schedule allows you. You wake up and rejoice that you’re your own boss. And, you have the luxury of considering alternative workplace arrangements. Even if you live in a city that has great temporary spaces, there may be a part of you that wishes you could work in your favorite fictional locale. We get it, it’s fun to imagine. But we’re also here to tell your fantasy is a terrible idea, especially if you were dreaming about…
A Tower in Hogwarts
There’s a lot of upside to hanging around this mysterious castle/boarding school. You get a *magical* education and access to two campus bars way better than your local dives. Also, the cafeteria experience comes complete with refillable plates. But for all the literal magic within the walls, it’s not the most accommodating environment for a freelancer. Need to send an urgent project update? It better not be too urgent, because you’re sending that thing via owl. Important meeting with a potential client? You could use a portkey! Then again, you may become nauseous in transit and embarrass yourself once you arrive. Wizards don’t seem to be fond of electricity, either, so once your computer dies you’re out of luck. And while there’s a spell out there that will make your quill write on its own, we’re well past the days of submitting hand-written drafts. This magical institution may be ideal if you’re somehow freelancing in 1738, but doesn’t make the cut for a more modern worker.
It may be tough to freelance at Hogwarts, but at the end of the day, the castle’s inhabitants are still focused on being productive—it is a school, after all. But the Shire? That’s a different set of problems. We know that taking a long walk through nature is a great way to combat depression and kickstart your creative process, and the rolling hills and pastoral meadows in Western Middle Earth are nothing short of uplifting. We also heard that their farm-to-table scene is literally otherworldly. But setting yourself up in the Shire is also setting yourself up for disaster. You’re going to start off strong, swearing to be your most productive self. But by the time second breakfast rolls around, you’ll be done for the day. Who wants to work when they could be hanging with Hobbits, eating six-plus meals a day, and practicing their pipeweed smoke-blowing skills? How could you ever get work done when you have this to look forward to:
Gotham, Metropolis, or any City Inhabited by Superheros
In superhero movies, the spandex-clad heroes protect worlds like our own. But there’s one thing we somehow never address when it comes to superheroes: collateral damage. Bad guys come to town and wreak havoc. Superheroes swoop down, and instead of luring the baddies out to a secluded area, they decide to throw down in the middle of the busiest intersection they can find. This does not bode well for anyone living in a 2-mile radius of the spandex rumble. The Avengers’ mission statement may read “watching your back, so you don’t have to”, but when they’re responsible for so much of that debris you start to wonder how much help they’re providing. Anyone looking to wrap up a project will not appreciate their windows being smashed in, or the Hulk using their car as a projectile.
Sterling Cooper Draper Price
Ah, the good old days. When men were men, and… it was all men. Men, all the time. Ugh. Mad Men’s appeal was its laser-sharp focus on the cultural expectations, social mores, and ugly honesty of white-collar America in the 1960s. The series’s run inspired many of us to step up our sartorial self-expression and get ahead in our professional lives. Cool and sharp as SCDP may have been, you’d want to rethink a freelancing desk in the Madison Avenue office space. For starters, every hour is happy hour. All that booze circulating in the office during work hours would tank productivity. The haze of cigarette smoke would be glad to cloud your rose-tinted glasses. If you somehow had a liver and lungs impervious to constant substance abuse, then you’d be spending more time filing harassment complaints to HR instead of getting stuff done.
The Turtle Lair
Setting up shop alongside four rollicking mutant turtles is good for sleepovers and not much else. It’s all fun and games until it’s time to bang out your assignments. In an instant, your reptilian buds become the world’s most annoying roommates. The only lunch around is some variation of pizza, which is the last thing you need when you’re hitting tight deadlines. The TMNT are a squad of dedicated martial artists, and we doubt they can train in silence. It’s in a sewer, too— you don’t want to roll from the lair to a face-to-face meeting. Maybe consider a studio space with four actual renaissance painters instead.