I've worked in a lot of places outside the usual comfort of the office or my home. The back of questionably driven taxis. On the cold, concrete floors of convention centers. On packed commuter trains. Squashed into an economy airplane seat. The list goes on, and few manage to provide the comfort or practicality that you'd consider ideal.
However, I've found a new, mobile location from where I could happily spend an entire day working... the back of a Rolls-Royce.
When it comes to working on the move, Rolls-Royce prides itself on its entrepreneurial customer base who not only wish to travel in style and comfort, but also want to continue their business operations with minimum disruption.
Not surprisingly, Rolls-Royce delivers, providing an unparalleled working environment for the road – and I was fortunate to experience it for myself.
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A cocoon of comfort
There are a couple of things you'll notice almost immediately when you plant yourself inside the back of a Rolls-Royce, whether it's the Cullinan SUV or the brand new Ghost: the space, and the carpet.
The ample seats are closer perhaps to your sofa than a traditional car seat, with plenty of width, headroom and legroom to accommodate even the largest of travellers. The headrest cushions are wonderfully plump and comforting, almost pillow-like in the way they cradle your head.
While the abundance of space may be an obvious point, the floor covering isn't something you'd likely take notice of – but things are different in a Rolls-Royce. Your feet sink into the deep, sheep-wool carpets, enticing you to kick off your shoes and take full advantage of the covering adorning the floor.
Once you've settled in, and after having closed the door with the touch (and hold) of a button, you'll take in a few more comforts. These include the padded armrests on the door panel and center divide between the two seats and Rolls-Royce's dreamy Starlight Headliner.
The latter is best viewed at night, presenting a constellation-like display across the roof, which adds to the magical aesthetic of the in-cabin environment.
So, this car is comfortable – as you'd hope of a vehicle costing more than, well, a lot of things combined. This is a good start for getting some work done, but it's more than just comfort that Rolls-Royce brings to the business world.
A wondrous workplace
The other thing you'll notice as your power-door clicks itself closed is the noise – or, more accurately, the lack of it. And things don't get much louder when you're on the move.
Rolls-Royce has gone to painstaking lengths to reduce the noise inside the cabin, with soundproofing throughout its vehicle's frame, double-glazed windows and an extremely quiet – yet powerful – V12 engine.
This reduction in road noise, the roar of an engine and general city sounds, means you find yourself being able to think more clearly, and concentrate on the task at hand.
Darting around cities in the backs of taxis, I know first-hand just how difficult it is to focus when various sounds interrupt your train of thought. Not so in a Rolls-Royce.
And something else I've struggled with when attempting to work in cars or on trains is the amount of motion you're subjected to on a journey. Bumps, turns, sharp braking and general vibrations make typing, reading, scrolling and watching all the more frustrating.
When it comes to a smooth journey, nothing comes close to travelling in the back of a Rolls-Royce. The experience is more akin to flying (business class, naturally) than it is to being on the road.
The car's clever suspension systems, and dampeners in the seats, mean the car soaks up road imperfections, resulting in a sublimely smooth ride. My laptop screen wasn't shaking, my hands weren't jolting over the keyboard causing me to miss keys, and cornering didn't see my laptop and phone deposited into a footwell – nor did it send me tumbling sideways.
For an additional subscription fee you can equip your Rolls-Royce with Wi-Fi connectivity, allowing you to get online – essential for anyone looking to conduct business from the back seat.
Press a button on the rear of the seat in front of you and a tray table will unfold. While this was useful to rest my smartphone upon, it proved a little too small to comfortably type with my laptop on it since only a portion of the device was able to rest on the tray.
However, an iPad would sit nicely here – although, if you opt for the rear-seat entertainment package, then you'll get touchscreen displays built-in behind the tray tables, with DVD and Live TV functionality. There are also a couple of USB ports for charging, and a HDMI port allowing you to connect a device to the aforementioned displays.
I was able to sit comfortably and work solidly for more than two hours, with my laptop on my lap and my smartphone on the armrest. Sure, the ride isn't perfect – if you drive over a particularly large pothole then of course the energy will be transferred through the chassis. However, in all honesty, I haven't come close to this level of serenity, smoothness and effortless nature of working in any other land-based vehicle.
And I'm unlikely to ever come close to the Rolls-Royce experience again – because I'm never going to be able to afford one.
The price of luxury
I spent over four hours working in the back of the Rolls-Royce Cullinan SUV, and another hour in the rear of the new Ghost – both of which had price tags of over £300,000 (around £380,000, AU$530,000) at their respective spec levels.
It's good to know that when you spend this sum on a car, it will deliver over and above what you'd experience from any other vehicle. However, it also severely limits the prospective customer base.
Not that this is an issue for Rolls-Royce. The launch of the Cullian SUV in 2018 saw it become the firm's best selling car in 2019 thanks to its appeal to a new customer base for the brand. With the new Ghost – the Rolls-Royce for owners who want to drive as well as be driven – the company hopes it will be able to continue expanding the reach of its cars.
Although these vehicles certainly won't be getting any cheaper, so if you have aspirations to work in comfort on the move, then you may want to start saving pronto.
- John McCann is getting behind the wheel to give you an alternative look at the wealth of cars – and the tech inside them – available today. From super-fast sports cars to tech-packed hatchbacks, he'll take you through a range of makes, models, power and price tags in his regular TR Drives column.