Once you spend time in Lisbon or Las Palms, the chances are that you will go to Surf Office to work and met other location independent professionals. Peter Fabor is the mastermind behind the concept and does a great job providing an environment where like-minded people can meet and work. He shared some of his insights and future plans with us.
1. Tell us a few things about your background and how was Surf Office born
Back in 2013 I wanted to work from Canary Islands and I needed a stable place to work so I created one. After some time, other people liked the idea so much that they joined me in the office while working on their own things. Eventually I started to work on making this idea better and grow it to the point where we are now.
2. What are the most important benefits one has when joining a co-working and co-living community?
From my experience it’s meeting other interesting, open-minded people. Community plays a big role in remote work whether it comes to sharing feedback on your project or just having a few drinks after work. Without the community around, it would be just another accommodation with an adjacent office space.
3. Who is the “typical” Surf Office guest and has this profile changed over the years?
Someone who can work remotely. Types of professions have varied over the years but this is one thing they have in common. Surf Office has always been a productive place where people go to work from and this has not changed.
4. Based on your experience, what’s the minimum number of days people need to spend time together (co-working & co-living) so they can get the best results and why?
We are not a startup accelerator or some kind of a structured program so we don’t view it that way. Your mileage can vary and whatever period of time you choose, we’ll try to make your time at Surf Office as productive and fun as possible.
5. How did the community help you grow professionally and personally?
Thanks to Surf Office I’ve met a great number of interesting and clever people and from every one of them I learned something new. I can’t imagine where else could I meet so many bright people in such a short time.
6. What is the most amazing outcome for Surf Office attendees?
It’s mainly relationships and new friendships. People get to know each other thanks to activities that we organize during their stay but often these relationships continue and thrive after leaving Surf Office. They travel together, visit each other and work on mutual projects long after their visit. And that is really awesome.
7. Some of the OFFIce To Travel readers are still employees or freelancers who want to become entrepreneurs. Usually there is a whole process behind a successful business and it takes years until it reaches success. That’s why many people quit this path – they believe they’ve failed. How much time did it take you to get at the point where your business grew exponentially?
There is nothing bad about being an employee or a freelancer; at least we don’t think so. In fact, a lot of our guests are freelancers and remote employees and we see that both paths can provide many benefits. If you feel entrepreneurial, that’s great, go for it. If you feel happier as an employee, there’s nothing wrong with that. More and more companies are open to the idea of flexible hours or remote work so be bold and find your fit. There’s no ultimate recipe for a perfect work setting. It depends on what suits you and your lifestyle.
8. How did you manage to grow your business from an idea to a big community and achieve worldwide awareness?
We try to do the best and listen to every feedback we receive. Each criticism or critical reaction helps us move forward. We don’t shut our eyes to the problems and we know that we are not perfect.
9. You are also organizing company retreats. Why did you decide to reach another niche and what makes them different from a regular teambuilding?
We don’t have any specific strategy regarding reaching out to companies, they started to reach out to us by themselves. The main difference in comparison with regular teambuildings is that companies actually work from Surf Office and usually more than 8 hours a day.
10. What are your thoughts on lifestyle businesses vs. startups?
Both have their pros and cons. Both can work great or fail. It depends on a specific person, his or her situation, abilities and goals.
11. Surf Office is located in Lisbon and Las Palmas but you are also organizing meetups in other cities like Prague and Berlin. What are you plans in terms of scaling your business and offering access to more people?
The idea is to meet people who have already visited Surf Office and inspire others while showing them that such a lifestyle exists. We enjoy organizing these events, it’s a great opportunity to get to know other like-minded folks in various corners of the world, share ideas, compare experiences and have fun. It’s a pretty new thing for us but we’ve had a great response so far so it’s quite possible that we will be organizing more of them and even in new cities.
12. How do you see the future of work?
We will see even more clearly that with creative professions work is not tied to a physical place. Flexible work hours and remote working will become standard rather than rarity. It’s also going to be harder to pretend productivity when working remotely as the outcomes are easier to monitor and track.