How to Hot-Desk Out of a Forest!

These outdoor wooden desks take remote assignments to a whole new level.

Forest workstation in Lahti, Finland

(Photo courtesy of the City of Lahti, Finland)

Fancy working remotely from the middle of a forest? This is now a viable alternative to home offices and co-working spaces thanks to an exciting initiative happening in the Finnish city of Lahti, where open-air hot-desking is already here!

Remote work, including working from home, isn’t new, but it has become almost universally accepted during these Pandemic times. Some companies have gone as far as deciding to close their offices and opting for remote working as a permanent thing, at least on certain days. And many of them give their employees the option to choose between working from the office or from home, according to Buildremote, a platform about working remotely. So, working from home, whether it's from a desk, table or couch, is something people are familiar with. Working from a forest though - that would be taking things to a whole new level.

Taking remote work literally in the European Environment City 2021
The Finnish city of Lahti, European Environment City 2021, has done exactly that. It has taken remote work literally and to a whole new level. Together with Upwood, a Finnish design company and creative agency TBWA\Helsinki, the city has installed open-air desks in the middle of the wilderness!

The open-air desks are made locally out of Finnish wood, and have everything a working-person would need: a wooden surface for a laptop, a hole for a cup, place to put a phone and even a latch for a bag. The only difference between these desks and other standing desks is that these are tied to trees in the middle of nature and guarantee a breathtaking view!

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The desks are free to use for anyone who wants, and work on a first-come-first-served basis. Although these desks may not be appropriate for some jobs, since there is no internet connectivity, power and sometimes no cell phone reception in the wilderness, these desks would be great for people like writers and in other jobs that don’t always require those things. For the jobs that do require internet connections, these desks could still be great for brainstorming sessions and to help boost creativity.

Work immersed in the beauty of nature in post-Pandemic times
Umberto Onza, an industrial designer at TBWA\Helsinki, who led the design process of this project, explained that Finnish people are keen to spend time in the forest and value being in nature. He said that the desks would be able to be used about six months out of the year due to the weather, and that they were designed in a way that allows people to see the beautiful nature that surrounds them. 

The inspiration for the workstations, he told Goodnet, “came from the shapes, textures and elements that can be found in nature, like the roundness of trees and breathing nature. The design reflects ecology, locality and functionality, and the workstations blend into surrounding nature.”

The initiative’s media release, acknowledging the new post-Pandemic work landscape, also highlights how nature has taken pride of place in our lives:

“Telecommuting has come to stay, but people are now longing for solutions that combine different patterns of doing work. Many have also found their way to nature more and more often in the middle of a meeting tube and awakened to the importance of nearby nature. That is why Lahti, the European Environment Capital 2021, has built Viita forest workstations in nature to remind us of both the flexibility of working life and the calming effect of nature.”

Other places might be catching on to the remote desk idea and joining this initiative, reports Thinkremote. Companies have been reaching out to Onza about getting their own remote work-stations and about adding this concept to their offices. Maybe they intend to have their employees work in nature. Or maybe, they just want to bring more nature to their offices. Either way, it seems like the work/nature balance is moving in a great- even if remote- direction!

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