TreeHugger has noted before that swapping is good for your budget and for the environment. House-swapping and home exchanges are not new; one company facilitating swaps has been doing it since 1953. It was developed as a way of getting low-cost vacation accommodations, but who takes long vacations anymore? Everybody is too busy working. But the problem of the quick, short vacation is the carbon footprint of the travel, the inability to settle in and get to know a place and its people, and the high cost per day. That's why Swap Your Shop is such an interesting concept. You don't just swap your apartment, but also your desk at the office.
Andrew and Jose, the first two swappers.
Of course, there is bit of a hurdle to overcome, your boss might not like some unknown person arriving one morning and sitting at your desk. So SYS provides a good list of reasons why it is a good thing for the boss as well as the employee, including having a terrific perq that doesn't cost very much, a rejuvenated employee (at a lot less cost than a sabbatical) plus the knowledge that the employee gets by being in a different office in a different country (and the knowledge gained from the swapee). It can also help build the business:
Access to potential new clients.
Depending on who you send on the swap and their capabilities, you may find you're able to sell your services to a new, expanded audience. Your employee can spend part of their time abroad making contacts and spreading the word about your capabilities.
I suspect that it is still a really hard sell; even creative businesses have privacy issues and inviting some unknown person in who might poach pencils or clients has got to be a worry. Jose and Andrew both work for bleeding-edge creative firms, where it might be an easier pitch.
Perhaps there is another market they should consider: The home office worker/ telecommuter/ shedworker. A swap service specifically for those who have the place to work, the high speed connections and other things necessary to work productively. I would sign up for that.