OUTBOX: The Future of Work?

Think outside the office. Opening day for OUTBOX, a pop-up outside office in Silver Spring. #dtss #md #merrland

I’ve got one word for you: BOXES. Whether it’s a tiny house or a new transit van, the future is modular. It’s four walls and temporary, brought to you when and where you need it.

That’s the thought behind OUTBOX, temporary outdoor office space constructed in downtown Silver Spring. Created by students at Montgomery College, they describe it as:

OUTBOX is an innovative workspace offering on-the-go professionals a perfect spot to escape the office this season. Work, ideate and create in the fresh air.

student designers at OUTBOX

Beats the hell out of my windowless, gubment-issued cubicle so I was dying to check it out. OUTBOX is as described, an open-air, covered space with chairs, tables and wifi.

Cool, but probably not necessary in downtown Silver Spring, where there must a dozen places you can work in, from coffee shops to the public library. I’d rather go to Peet’s.

Where this would be ideal, however, are places far from city centers where wifi is ubiquitous. When I was traveling out west last year, I would’ve loved OUTBOX. It would be perfect for a Utah rest stop in the middle of nowhere, allowing travelers a chance to check their email, look up hotels and reconnect to the world.

Meeting in a box. Office workers enjoy a sojourn outside the office in OUTBOX, a Silver Spring pop-up #dtss #merrland #md #igdc

OUTBOX would also be great at places where you need temporary workspace, like a convention or a concert. It would make a great press room for reporters, social media mavens and photographers covering such events.

Cheap, flexible workspaces are the future. Investing in massive buildings filled with white-collar workers is a waste of money. Why pay for half-empty desks? Here’s to a better alternative, one that employees might enjoy more: the box! It might not be OUTBOX but we’re all going to be working and living in such places pretty soon.

 

Friday Photo: Bump N’ Grind Edition

My first flat white. It's like a cappuccino but without the froth. I had it at Bump 'n Grind, a new coffee place with bearded baristas and a tattooed clientele that's right up the street from the suits at NOAA. #igdc #coffee #flatwhite #dtss #lifeiswander

This was my first flat white. I’m a convert. Made with espresso and steamed milk, it’s like a cappuccino but without the froth. The rich milk and the caffeinated jolt make it a great afternoon treat. The flat white is an Australian invention. I welcome it.

If you read my earlier post, you know I have mixed feelings about Silver Spring. But I really like Bump N’ Grind, the new coffee place where I got this lovely drink. They make great coffee, there’s plenty of room to sit and it’s convenient to my office – everything I want in a coffee place. It’s a little hard to find on East-West Highway but if you like coffee, it’s worth the trip.

Friday Photo: Giant Hand Edition

Snow on the giant hand at @noaa Building 3 #dtss #igdc #snow
The Hand of Noah in front of NOAA Building Three.

The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is a large federal bureaucracy in Silver Spring, MD. I’ve worked there as a contractor in two separate stints – three years in the National Ocean Service (NOS) and a little more than two years (so far) in the National Weather Service (NWS).

If you work at NOAA, you refer to where you work by building number.¬† In NOS, I worked in Building 4. In NWS, I work in Building 2. The sculpture above is in front of Building 3. I don’t blame you if you’re confused.

According to the NOAA Library:

The sculpture in front of NOAA’s SSMC3 building (at 1315 East-West Highway) on its Silver Spring, Maryland campus is called “The Hand of Noah”. It was given this title by its sculptor, Raymond Kaskey, in 1991, and symbolizes NOAA’s stewardship of the environment.

In NOAA-land, the giant hand makes a convenient landmark. “Meet me at the giant hand,” is a phrase you hear a lot.

I took this photo during a beautiful, short-lived snowstorm in Silver Spring. I’ve wanted to get this pic for years and, finally, the weather and my schedule cooperated. Like the birds in the sculpture, I feel free!