The burning summer question: can you work at the beach?

TV writer Sarah Francis takes laptop, pen and paper outdoors, to see if it’s possible to do a productive day’s work

Sarah Francis trying to do a day’s work on Sandymount beach . Photograph: Alan Betson

Sarah Francis trying to do a day’s work on Sandymount beach . Photograph: Alan Betson


The proposition of working at the beach is hard to pass up. Sitting at my desk looking longingly out the window, I reason that surely I could get as much work done at the beach with a cooling sea breeze, right? In fact it might be even less distracting because I wouldn’t be preoccupied with wanting to be outside. This is a great idea.

It’s easy to put my office in my bag. All I need is my laptop, notebooks and a bottle of water. I hop on a Dublin Bike and spin down from the city centre to Sandymount strand, convincing myself that this is going to be a super-productive day, chuckling at the thought of all the poor saps melting in their offices.

“That’s the great thing about my work,” I think. “I can do it anywhere.”

When I get there though, I realise I am completely underprepared. The tide has gone out, the sand is still damp and I have nothing to sit on. The sea breeze is initially lovely, but then it starts to get chilly.

I look enviously at other sunbathers, and try to edge myself closer to them to take advantage of their windbreakers. That doesn’t go down well.

Technology is a terrible idea at the beach, which is probably why I am the only person with a laptop.

I am freaking out about getting sand in it, and anyway, there’s no point having it open because you can’t see the screen in the glare. I give up on that and opt for pen and paper.

Technology is great, but there are certain things it can’t replace. I’m here to get stuff done, so I make a to-do list. Then I realise I can’t get anything on the list done sitting on my ass at the beach.

Will I do it again? Next time I’ll bring togs. The only productive thing I can imagine doing is catching up on some reading work. Watching people having fun on the beach when you’re trying to work is a lot more frustrating than being at a desk.

Sign In

Forgot Password?

Sign Up

The name that will appear beside your comments.

Have an account? Sign In

Forgot Password?

Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In or Sign Up

Thank you

You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.

Hello, .

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

Thank you for registering. Please check your email to verify your account.

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.