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4 entrepreneurs reveal the most unusual places they get work done

Forced waiting and downtime doesn't have to be lost work time - here's how four entrepreneurs stay on top…

Technology has turned almost any space in the world into a potential office; provided you’ve got the necessary hardware (e.g. and a decent internet connection, you can attend to your business’s needs wherever you are.

But, whilst it may be necessary for the intrepid entrepreneur to work from unusual spaces and places, these environments aren’t always conducive to best working practices and total focus.

However, sometimes being in an unusual place is just the thing you need to open up your mind to new ideas and give you a creative boost; some entrepreneurs even find the cacophony of a public space relaxing, are lulled into a rhythm by the dull rumble of a train, or do their best work whilst breathing in conditioned air at 30,000 feet.

We spoke to four entrepreneurs about the most unusual place they’ve ever worked from, dealing with dodgy internet and difficult circumstances, and how they stay on top when they’re out and about in a hectic world…

What are the most unusual places to work?

James Talbot, the CEO of Damson Audio, lays claim to having worked from one of the most remote and challenging environments on the planet: “Probably from a tent near Everest base camp, which involved a Satellite phone and a lot of patience – as well as a horrendously expensive bill the following month!”

Cat Gazzoli, founder of Startups 100-featured baby food company Piccolo works between London and Italy, so regularly finds herself working on the road: “One of the local family run farms across the Mediterranean that grow our 100% organic vegetables – I visit them all regularly and can even get enough signal to reply to emails in and amongst the olive trees.”

Natasha Guerra, managing director of co-work space provider Runway East, says she has “taken calls whilst skiing down a slope, which is always interesting!”

Callum Ilott, a young UK racing driver and owner of Callum Ilott Promotions, frequently (but unsurprisingly) finds himself working at racetracks around the world including Germany’s Norisring: “There are thousands of people around – it’s one of their flagship events with big crowds. Of course, that also makes it very busy and working space is limited compared with the permanent circuits like Silverstone.”

What are the essential pieces of kit you need for working in unusual places?

Damson Audio’s Talbot: “My travel kit consists of a Pelican backpack which I know protects my computer and second screen (I always travel with two screens), a light notebook like […], smartphone, a modified toiletry bag that is now my ‘’cables and other essentials bag’ (memory, chargers, usual man crap!).”

He also says he “wouldn't leave home without” a decent portable charger: “[It] untethers me from finding wall sockets when my phone, computer, iPad etc is low on juice.” Finally, Talbot recommends having a global roaming bundle; he says: “It gives me peace of mind in knowing what it's going to cost me to use my data or phone.”

Gazzoli: “I always have my phone, laptop and spare chargers for both with me.”

Guerra: “If you want to work on your laptop without relying on a table, you need something small – it's hard to balance anything larger on your lap. I would add that you should have a phone with a great data connection so that you can use it as a WiFi hot spot to your laptop and not have performance issues.”

Ilott: “Since the start of 2017 I’ve done 46 flights. The fact my headphones are Bluetooth-compatible means I don’t have to worry about getting tangled in wires. It makes my life a lot smoother and helps me get into a relaxed, focused mode when I arrive at the track. Having a power bank takes away that first world problem of battery life.”

How do you maintain focus in hectic environments?

Talbot: “My biggest tip would be to listen to music. For me, my focus music is house or trance which I know a lot of people could not listen to. Music is so subjective though so whatever works for you. Also, make sure you get hold of a pair of noise cancelling headphones. They will cut you off from the outside world, just make sure you're aware of your stop as you won't hear the announcement!”

Gazzoli: “Practice! London is so busy, noisy and hectic that you have to teach yourself to ignore the noise and not get distracted.”

Guerra: “Noise is always an issue – carry noise cancelling headphones.”

Ilott: “When I need some quiet time, the noise cancelling headphones come in handy. Not only do they block outside sound but they allow me to listen to music.”

What tasks do you focus on when working on the move?

Talbot: “Exactly the same as I would be doing in the ‘office’ – working. I use the inverted commas because I have set myself up to have an office absolutely anywhere.”

Gazzoli: “I like to read industry titles and see what is happening in the busy Fast-moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) world we work in, so tend to use long journeys to catch up on those.”

Guerra: “Emails mostly, but calls… all sorts.”

Ilott: “Whenever I’m travelling I like to keep in the loop on social media, so connecting is one of the first things I do when I sit down. As a young driver, it’s so important to show people that you appreciate their support, and I do. Fans are integral to a driver’s career and social media means motorsport is easier to follow now than ever before.”

“I’m also responsible for running my racing as a business. That includes working with sponsors, buying equipment, having meetings with the team, talking to the media.”

What’s the best place to work when you’re on the move?

Talbot: “Totally depends on what I'm looking to achieve, if it's idea creation then it’s on a plane. I don't know why but something happens to me on planes that makes me think. Maybe it's the lack of being distracted by all the messaging apps and phone calls. If it's every day work then I like to work on the bed in a hotel room instead of a desk – plump the pillows up and rest the laptop on my legs.”

Gazzoli: “On a plane to Italy with my daughter Juliet beside me.”

Guerra: “Trains are the best – find a table on a train with no one else on it, put your headphones in, enjoy the world rushing past as you work! Find the quietest spot – walk to the end of the train.”

Ilott: “When travelling by train, I always look for a quiet carriage, preferably with a table seat if I need to work.”

Vodafone offers a range of business plans including the popular Business Premier – which includes damage insurance with four-hour phone replacement, a UK-based Prime Contact and a choice of data options to use at home or abroad. To find out more about the latest business offers call 08080 044603.

Henry Williams
Henry Williams

Henry has been writing for since 2015, covering everything from business finance and web builders to tax and red tape. He’s also contributed to many of our industry-renowned annual indexes, including Startups 100 and Young Guns, and created a number of the site’s popular how to guides. Before joining the team, he reviewed films for a culture website, and still harbours ambitions of being a screenwriter.


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