Remember when your elementary school teacher held class outside during particularly sunny days? This is the adult version. The UK-produced OfficePOD, which debuted yesterday in London’s Cumberland Hotel, makes working outside possible for cubicle-dwellers–sort of. The 7×7 movable pod apparently features “innovative storage and desktop solutions using high-quality materials
chosen for their visual, physical and environmental characteristics” along with energy-efficient insulation and cooling, wireless IT and phone connectivity, and a secure locking system.
In addition to minimizing energy use, the OfficePOD’s creators speculate that the shed-like room saves companies money by allowing employees to work at home while still maintaining a separate office environment. In theory, that makes sense. Any freelancer can tell you that working where you sleep is a challenge.
The pod costs approximately $7284 for a yearly lease, which includes installation, help-desk support, health and safety assessments, repairs, and eventual removal. That’s considerably less than the $13,112 necessary to accommodate an employee in an office building for the same amount of time.
It’s hard to deny the environmental benefits of working from home (fuel savings, energy efficiency), but the OfficePOD seems a bit alienating. Color me cynical, but I don’t relish the prospect of working in a 7×7 foot space with no human companionship. It may save time, money, and energy, but the costs to employee morale could be enough to steer employers away from the OfficePOD.