The epitome of working globally
Interview Barbara Barkhausen, August 1 2015 / 08-11-2015 / 01-11-2016
What will the future of work look like? Scientists and business school professors alike have been exploring this question for decades. Most agree that it will be more global, flexible and independent than our current work places. And some have embraced this future notion already: These so called digital nomads share co-working spaces across the world working from Thailand one month and from Italy the next.
But what does the truly global workplace look like? One take on this is the "Coboat", a sailing catamaran that can accommodate up to 20 people and will circumnavigate the globe from November onwards. The Berliner Karsten Knorr, who lived the past eight years in Sydney and currently works from a co-working space in Bali, will be on the boat. He is one of the four founders of the project.
Karsten, how will the co-working on the catamaran work?
The ship can accommodate 20 guests and four crew members. We have a very fast high-speed Internet connection via satellite and we are planning to work on our own as well as on joint projects from the boat.
What are you doing yourself?
I operate a yacht charter service and can therefore work from anywhere in the world. Due to this job I have discovered how I can work regardless of where I am. The Coboat is really just the next logical step for me and combines my passion for sailing with working from the water.
Is this the future of work in your opinion?
I don’t know if everyone will like it, but I do get to know more and more people who don’t enjoy the ‘9-to-5 job’ anymore and who don’t want to work in a regulated environment, but wish to combine their hobbies, reading, traveling and working.
But let’s be honest: This does sound a bit more like a holiday than hard work to me…
That’s a prejudice that we digital nomads have to fight constantly, but it's actually really hard work. Ultimately, the money has to be earned. It does not grow on trees in other countries either. Many digital nomads work even more hours than they would in an office.
Are you afraid that you will get on each other’s nerves in such a narrow space on the boat?
Actually not, since we will have a changing crew with different guests on board. The boat is also not that small, we have 1,000 square meters – so quite a bit of space if you need to avoid someone.
How do the numbers add up? Do you plan to make some money with the project or is it really just a new form of co-working?
For us, this whole thing is a fun project: If there are revenues, we will invest them in local projects at the places that we visit.
The Coboat starts its circumnavigation in November in Thailand. From Southeast Asia it will travel to the Seychelles and the Maldives, then into the Mediterranean, and finally across the Atlantic to the Caribbean. One day on the boat costs 140 Euro: This includes the high-speed internet connection, accommodation, meals, drinks, port taxes and water sports equipment.