When Amsterdam office workers get tired of sitting in a cubicle, they can head out to work from a forest instead. A new caravan of mobile micro-offices–fully equipped with Wi-Fi and solar-powered coffeemakers–is traveling across a network of national parks in the Netherlands.
“The inspiration to create this comes from a longing to be more deeply connected to nature,” says KantoorKaravaan founder Tom van de Beek. “These times of technological innovation and wireless connectivity provide us with the ultimate combination: getting back to nature and self sufficiency in terms of food and energy, and still be able to do our day to day business. In other words: we can now create the 21st-century equivalent of the Garden of Eden.”
The offices are a spinoff of SustainsVille, a five-year-old project that is building a self-sustaining community of tree houses for cultural creatives. “We created a mobile version of off-the-grid work- and meeting spaces,” van de Beek says. “This way we can move from one place to another and find the best ‘wilderness’ spots around to stay for a couple of weeks before heading out to the next pristine natural hot spot. Without leaving a trace, of course.”
The caravan is currently located near Amsterdam, so people can either take the train out for the day, or stay longer at a campsite. The group of offices can accommodate around 35 people. “We highly recommend people getting there by public transport,” he says. “We pick them up from the nearest train station or provide them with bicycles. We also offer people the possibility to camp. The idea is to spend several days at least to get the real workation vibe, and people can stay as long as they want.”
There are clear advantages to working from a campsite instead of a high-rise, beyond the fact that multiple studies prove that being around nature helps improve the quality of work.
“It just feels good to charge your phone and laptop batteries and prepare your soy latte on solar energy while charging yourself on the virtues of nature,” van de Beek says. “It’s a very effective remedy to reduce stress or avoid burn-outs. Compared to your typical office our concept, it gives you plenty of space, much needed silence, and ultimate freedom.”