I have grown up under the roof of the Collado bar, the eating house that my family has run for 84 years. I graduated in psychology and worked for more than a decade as a consultant analyzing social trends and consumer habits to tell big brands how to connect with the hearts of consumers. Tired of feeding the capitalist demon, I decided to go back to my roots, to what I hated so much as a teenager and now I adore: feeding and drinking to the people of the neighborhood. Since my return to the other side of the counter, I have observed the appearance of a new type of user -not necessarily a client, as we will see later-: the people who set up their offices with them.
When I first heard the term “digital nomad” the image that came to mind was of a 30-something man with his well-groomed beard and carefree ringled hair sitting in front of a screen. Covered in a leather loincloth akita dog and with the gaze absorbed by the psychedelic flames of the netflix fireplacehe was charged with energy thinking about his next settlement.
Later I found out that Estonia was one of the first countries to offer e-residency and a digital identity to provide access to the country’s business environment. In this way, anyone who defines himself as a citizen of the world can finish a “presen” while eating a smoked sprat sandwich and enjoying the views of the Raekoja Plats having as base camp the European Union; and the planet Earth.
But not everything is rosy in this liquid universe where life flows at the speed that your dirt disappears down the drain. No friends. Only a privileged few have the luck, and the ability, to be able to respond emails reclining on inflatable flamingos rocked by the warm waters that surround the Bahamas.
The vast majority of the working–autonomous&precarium–class he has to figure out every day to find a meter and a half table and turn it into his office. They are people who cannot –or do not want– to pay a coworking. Although it is hard to believe, there is a group of independent jobbers who do not like to work in a glass cube while on the other side there is a group of human beings in tights practicing yoga.
Thus, as an observer from both sides of the bar, I have detected different profiles of anonymous heroes who, day after day, come out of their burrows in search of an office. Loaded with their MacBook Air and a reusable water bottle inside their Ölend backpack, they intend to eat a piece of this world that they define as “glocal” destroying the cervical from the chair of a bar.
These are the main profiles of nomads who use the bar as an office:
SandwiChezians: there is a type of self-employed person who only frequents chain establishments sandwichez. They arrive at the venue when the floor still smells freshly mopped and the staff is preparing for service. His goal is to get the best table, the one that is furthest from the counter to avoid the murmur of the parade of customers going through the cashier. They can sit there for nine hours having consumed just one measly latte. It is rumored that some take the tupperware from home and eat without hiding too much. The most disturbing thing is that it seems that the brand value of this chain is this: come to work at our joint. The only thing you are going to consume is our electricity.
Screenwriters: It’s later. Any bar will do as long as it has WiFi and beer. They drink as if they had a son in jail while watching series on a tablet and writing in a soft-cover ENRI notebook. From time to time they let out a laugh that involuntarily shoots boogers at the staff, but they don’t care. For them there is no one else in that place.
diuretics: They look for cafeterias with a wide variety of teas and infusions. They are characterized by asking repeatedly to fill their cup with hot water to squeeze the herbs as much as possible. They smile more than they should and talk too softly. If they are going through a very hard day, they decide to make peace with the sugars, their main archenemy, to eat a piece of some fancy cake. They always carry a lilac mat and a Decathlon microfiber towel.
predators: They are the ones that generate the most stress for the hospitality staff. They enter the premises alone and speaking in English very loudly through the airpods with someone who, of course, is on the other side of the world. They stand at the bar staring at the bartender as they keep mentioning “briefings” and “budgets”, as if the clerk’s eyes are teleporting them directly to that Australian kangaroo they’re talking to. It does not occur to them to think that the person at the bar may feel confused by having someone in front of them speaking in English about digital marketing.
Everything would be solved with a small gesture pointing to his ears and an “excuse me, give me a second” gesticulated with his lips. Something that never happens. Sometimes the call is so long that they go in and out of the bar several times without placing an order. When they hang up they don’t apologize and claim their drink as if they had ordered it half an hour ago. They get around on a Brompton bike and are so lucky that it has never been stolen.
Do you hear me well?: getting together is his move. They go from Zoom to Zoom and cancel meetings because of other meetings. Most of them are boomers or old millennials who vindicate that unproductive and inefficient way of life from when money sprouted from the asphalt like chanterelles in autumn. They constantly complain about the bad connection in the place and they don’t hesitate to ask the waiters to turn down the music. Their presence occupies the entire sound space and captures the attention of the customers at the bar.
When they meet clients in person, they are greeted at the door of the bar like the one who opens the door of their house and accompanies their guests to the lounge. They are the type of very dynamic people who soften their addiction to caffeine by asking for a flat white instead a double-loaded latte at six in the evening.
Empathic: Any waiter or hotelier will agree that it is the best profile you can find on the other side of the bar. They start with coffee and croissant, continue with salad and pesto rigatoni, and finish with a slice of carrot cake and vanilla rooibos. They are characterized by not wanting to disturb the dynamics of the premises, to the point of sharing their phone data so as not to freeload WiFi. They are grateful and polite.
Elegance is measured by the ability to adapt to each place and situation. if you are a freelancing without an office that needs to leave the house to work, remember who you are and where you go to work.
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