Over the past year we’ve been faced with quite a few difficult situations: snow, ice, flooding, ash… (bet you’d never have seen ash coming 12 months ago!)

So there’s been a need for us all to work out how we can work outside the usual confines of the office, 9-5. Now for some, certain conditions are insurmountable. You can’t paint a house in a rainstorm – and it happens, but once it’s dry, you’re good to go. For those of us with internet and word processor based occupations, it’s more a case of asking ourselves, can we access the networks we need from wherever we are, rather than simply having to wait for it to all blow over – because that could take months for an ash cloud.

At the Penna Grand Prix last week, someone declared: “Your next office is Starbucks.” They were referring to the future of work they foresee, where people will likely be working more from where they are based on projects and in freelance and a contract capacity rather than traditionally full time, permanently employed.

Is it really the case? Well even if we don’t all get very friendly with the local barista and start setting up our laptops in the café, the ability to be able to do so is crucial to keep the wheels in motion.

This was brought to my mind today: for those of you who don’t know, SiftMedia, the parent company of HRzone, is based in Bristol. We all work out of a central office with our sister companies.

Today some workmen in the road cut through a cable. The electricity all over our part of town went down. No wifi, no internet, nothing… Those of us on laptops had limited battery power but once we realised it wouldn’t be coming straight back on, our MD announced we were going to the pub.

Some with urgent deadlines headed home where the electricity was working: much of our work just requires internet connectivity. The rest of us went to the pub until the networks were back on and email servers had recovered etc. The FD bought a round and we took the opportunity to mix with other departments, spend a little time with new starters and bond a little. We were out for perhaps an hour before the problem was fixed.

Time wasted? I think not. These opportunities for almost everyone to be together don’t come along often. The situation was out of our control, and it won’t happen very often. Sometimes we need a little perspective and a glass of cider. Don’t stress – embrace the opportunity in the situation and reap the rewards.