Digitales Arbeiten im Eco-Working Space

Vegan food startup visits Armonia Tribe in Spain: trying to find a harmonious balance between technology and nature.

Many ecological projects demonise digitisation and technical progress. Self-sufficiency is romanticised in the longing for a sustainable circular economy and technical progress is seen as the epitomisation of a computer-oriented world. It's pretty easy for us to talk in black and white contrasts and to keep repeating old clichés forever. To critically examine the differences in order to obtain a differentiated picture of the changes in our everyday world is perhaps just too controversial for many. But who is still looking at the world from a black and white lens, and how does that help them think about real future trends within our society?

Science fiction dystopia or reality?

Digitisation is not only changing the modern world of work. In addition to agile management, home office, modern nomadism and flat hierarchies, the digital age is not only now extending into our social networks, into our smart home and actually into almost all areas of our everyday life. The trend is towards machine learning, algorithmic recording of our user data and the automation of pretty much all more or less mechanical processes for which no human is needed. Reality has long since overtaken what were then only science fiction ideas.

Participation as the solution

Building eco-islands, in which few idealists turn a blind eye to global mega-trends and hide from historical upheavals, might be a solution for individuals. But viewed from a social perspective, however, this demarcation is just another part of an unintentional computer logic. As a child raised by parents who were highly attuned to all things democracy, I was constantly told: “by not voting you are choosing the wrong party”. So why seal yourself off from the rest of society and create parallel worlds?

Without our intervention, digitisation will swallow up resources and destroy jobs with nobody to raise a voice in objection. A shame, since ultimately technology is simply an extremely efficient tool to help the ordinary citizen optimise their working environment and to carry out, create and share great projects. If we're not part of the discussion with regard to optimising and using technology, we shouldn't complain. We have to take matters into our own hands in order to help shape the changes currently taking place in our world, and not just look on at them apathetically! There is a lot of potential in digital tools, and if properly managed, they can provide scope for more human, creative, creative work. Nobody will miss their nine-to-five office job when machines take over the annoying tasks on our screens. Nobody will complain that social activities are prioritised when bureaucratic processes have been digitally optimised so that an unconditional basic income can be provided for the masses. It's not all good about digital madness, but if the few idealists of this world pull themselves out too, it won't get any better!

Technology or Nature?

The New Work movement offers a revolutionary platform for new perspectives in the world of work. As an open-hearted project, Armonía Tribe aims to promote the friendship between digital pioneers and eco-idealists. We would like to welcome coworkers and digital nomads and work together to transform an outdated work ethic. With modern photovoltaic systems, we have taken the first step towards a sustainable out-of-office experience. Off-grid in the heart of nature, the small stream on the Armonía property connects the Andalusian mountains with the Mediterranean. Our wireless internet, minimalist desks and solar power have created the basic requirements for digital work in the middle of nature.

Eco-Working as a step in the right direction

In addition to AHO, our first guest in the so-called Eco-Working Space was the team from Mana. As its CEO the Hanoverian entrepreneur star Ricardo Ferrer Rivero kindly allowed us to use the Heaven Labs DACH GmbH for three weeks, where we sat between palm and fruit trees working together with other volunteers. Thus an eco working space was created, relocated, optimised and relished. With no solid walls but rather freshly planted trees, the digital food startup worked on the marketing of its vegan liquid food. As a meal replacement, the drink represents an alternative to conventional fast food and responds to the accelerated everyday life of our efficient society with a functional ready-to-drink shake.

Being guests at Armonía

“At home” in the Hannover co-working space hafven Mana shares the office space with other companies and accordingly saves resources. Mana is a completely vegan brand and gets its ingredients from plant-based resources. They discuss sustainability, ecology and economy; each aspect is weighed up against the others. Internal production processes, for instance, such as questions surrounding the use of plastic spoons or packaging materials are critically reviewed. Mana tries to advance its contribution to the design of digitisation and uses group activities such as yoga for team building at Armonía. The liquid food Mana produces would replace a trip to McDonalds with a product that consciously looks for time and energy saving alternatives. It doesn't condemn the fact that our modern day world demands compromises with regard to nutrition and sufficient movement, but rather offers it a healthier solution. At Mana, the team tries to positively change human eating habits and consciously avoid animal proteins or use an alternative micro-algae oil instead of fish oil. At AHO we have done a few things differently. For instance, we invested a lot of time and energy in finding our natural organic ingredients and sustainable packaging. At Armonía, too, we have chosen a different approach with geometric permaculture to make nutrition more sustainable. But essentially we share a common goal with Mana: an improved food system and the search for a global solution to the food crisis on earth. We feel that we need both of our business approaches and should work together for a better future.

Team building in the wilderness

When a whole startup works together in nature for three weeks, picks herbs from the permaculture garden for dinner and is only allowed to use the outdoor shower under a lemon tree with natural cosmetics, something happens naturally for which large companies invest fortunes: anonymous employees become team members. The team begins to think more sustainably and to see topics such as logistics, food production or marketing from a new perspective. The retreat offers a contrast program to package holidays and enables non-profit participation in social projects, creativity is encouraged and the abolition of everyday habits enables new ways of thinking.

Our first print article

Our hopes became a reality. The press became aware of us when pur company launched online for the first time. As a rule, eco-villages tend to close themselves off to the digital world and deliberately set themselves apart from the rest of society. But all that offers you in the great scheme of things is at most a short “offline retreat” or “digital detox.” But soon you'll just have to return to digital normality. By uniting Armonía and the digital world of work, we were able to overcome this separation and put our workers on both sides of the same desk and garden. The editorial staff oft3n liked this idea of ours. The “magazine for digital business” sent over the humorous journalist Melanie Petersen to investigate further.

In Pampa with our laptops

Melanie recorded her experiences at Armonia in t3n magazine No. 54.You can read an excerpt from the story of t3n, Armonía here. In the worthwhile print edition of the “Magazine for digital pioneers” with the motto “Digitization: What comes next?” 5 visions of the future for the 21st century are presented and Melanie tells how she organised life and work on the farm. We are pleased that the topic of the reconciliation of nature and technology has received media attention, so that we can learn to shape the future positively together.

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