Until we moved to Rome and opened The Beehive, I’d never had a career, only a handful of jobs, and never anything that required working 9-5 in an office. Linda was the opposite – always stuck in a cubicle somewhere, surrounded by different shades of that ubiquitous office blue-grey. The times I’d end up at her work, I was uncomfortable the way most people are uncomfortable in hospitals – I never liked the swish swish swish sound of her coworker’s business casual slacks as they walked down the carpeted halls. I tired easily of hearing about the interoffice politics, protocols and endless policies. Then there’s the coup de grace: casual Friday, or Hawaiian shirt day, or whatever other asinine variation many offices seem to do “for fun”.
Without this standard model of how a company should look and where work should take place, we’ve been able to build a company without an office and take advantage of the freedoms modern technology offers. I’ve also been lucky to find long term staff members who equally don’t like bosses hovering over their shoulders, and don’t want, or need, to be told what to do. As a travel company, it seems natural that we would be mobile. It also suits our workload being dispersed – we have all the time zones covered: I’m currently on sabbatical in Bali until June and Amy, who has no official title but is affectionately known to Linda and I as “pretty much in charge of everything”, is in Central America. The staff at The Beehive in Rome covers any phone emergencies throughout Europe, and various associates do their thing, whether it’s accounting or design, in other locations.
I also have my own particular “guerilla” work style. That is to say, with three kids and no office (I don’t even have a desk for that matter), I don’t sit down to a calm, organized space and do one task at a time, taking a break for lunch. No, I’m accustomed to checking reservations, sending sms messages and answering emails while wiping bottoms, making dinner and breaking up sibling squabbles. Give me 5 minutes of even relative calm and I can get a hell of a lot done.
I’ve never logged it, but I’m probably on the computer 10 hours a day, maybe even more. I can’t even remember the last time I turned my computer off completely. I have an iPhone (which also remains on 24 hours a day), so the only times I’m not involved in some way with work, or not capable of responding to a problem, is when I’m in the water surfing or getting a massage, which might equal 3 hours total for both activities. Otherwise, I’m “at the office”, and really I couldn’t imagine life, or work, to be any other way.
As a way to show gratitude for this time spent in Bali and of not being stuck at the same boring place everyday, I give you the following photo tour of all the typical views I see during my current work day.