Gare du Nord has over 100 shops in it. You can have a cup of coffee and a sandwich before you leave, buy flowers or other gifts when you arrive. The station is surrounded by hotels for people leaving early or arriving late. The other major stations around Paris, as you would expect, all offer similar amenities. Where it becomes surprising, is when you think of business.
With more and more people working out of the office, would it not make sense to have flexible office spaces at all the major stations? Spend a few hours in an office at Gare du Nord before tubing it to the airport? Perhaps the home office is not available and you need somewhere to work for the day? Perhaps you have an office, but it is in Issy les Moulineaux and you are taking the 3 O’clock flight out of Orly? Perhaps you are in-between two client meetings at St Lazare and would like to work for 2 hours? Perhaps renting a meeting room with colleagues or a client at Austerlitz makes more sense than heading off to their office in La Defense? There are so many possible scenarios which would justify the use of a Office-by-the-hour for the nomadic worker, so where are they? We could even ask ourselves, how do we manage now, in the in-between time where society still needs to get the grips of the office-less office worker?
Today physical meetings often push the nomadic worker into long batches of public transport (to get to the offices of one or the other) or into the kind of places which are not ideal for working (cafe’s) but are the sole ones available. Airport hotels often have meeting rooms, but they are mostly used by a niche of international or supplier-client meetings. This office landscape needs to develop. It makes sense to have wifi- and coffee- equipped offices available by the hour. It would be perfect if it was clean, well ventilated and calm, with the possibility of renting a projector or a printer. Just think of how much time could be saved, and how much more comfortable and professional it would be. If the company exploiting them could hook into the business fidelity cards of Air France, the SNCF Grand Voyageur and Avis that would be even better. We can meet at the station.
Is there really not someone out there interested in investing into the future of office life?
(Gare du Nord picture: source)