For a year I’ve had the opportunity to work from a mobile office, and while I think that every pastor should try it at least for a season, there are some serious downsides to consider. So in the interest of fairness, I tried to come up with 7 challenges of a mobile office, but only 5 came to mind:
- Cash is King – While office-ing from a coffee-shop or diner is cheaper than the overhead required to have your own office-space, don’t be a mooch. This is a business before it is a cheap place for you to work from. If you can’t afford to be a good customer, don’t go. Be sure to get coffee (I have a coffee per 3 hour principle, but that’s more for the caffeine), and if you can lunch while you’re there. You want to build relationships with the employees, baristas, staff, and patrons in order to share the love of Christ and that’s hard to do when they view you as selfish and cheap.
- ADD Subtracts – Perhaps one of the biggest pitfalls of a mobile office is that you are in a public place. That means distractions are plentiful – from the guy that who’s just looking for a pointless discussion about the weather to the church planter who thinks your theology is wrong and wants to absorb your church into his. If you struggle with focus, you’ll be challenged to get much of anything done.
- Difficult Team Atmosphere – Public spots aren’t necessarily the most conducive to team meetings – the traffic, the background music, the sweet, sweet aroma of the cocoa beans yummy goodness – all make it extremely difficult to hold an extended conversation with anyone, much less a team. With that said, some shops have back rooms built specifically for these types of meetings. You simply have to schedule wisely and ensure that you have a positive relationship with the manager. As for how you do this, see the first point.
- Not all WiFi is Created Equal – As much as I love the free wifi of most shops, sometimes it can be found wanting. Starbucks, perhaps most notably, has let their internet go downhill ever since they opened up the access to anyone.
- Security is Important – 9/10 times this would never be an issue. But, there are those out there who want nothing more than to nab your passwords and information. Without some precautions, you could open yourself and everyone else whose information you handle up to identity theft. That’s bad for everyone.
Ultimately, I think the pros outweigh the cons. But then again, I could be missing something.
What do you think?