If you’re a freelancer and you work online, then you’ll have the considerable advantage of being able to work from anywhere. As long as you have a laptop and an internet connection, the world is your office!
And if you’ve ever experienced the cabin fever that can come from spending an entire week at home, then you’ll know that mixing it up can be extremely beneficial.
There are plenty of benefits to working away from home:
- You can separate your work and personal life (which can be a challenge for remote workers)
- You’ll benefit from a change of atmosphere which can be conducive to a productive state of mind
- You’ll be able to experience new places, which is rewarding in itself.
The only question then, is where to go? Here are some ideas to get you started.
1. Coffee Shops
The coffee shop is one of the very best places to set up camp if you want to get work done. Working in a coffee shop means you’ll be surrounded by the background hum of people chatting and getting their own work done.
Far from being distracting, this can actually help to effectively provide a form of sensory deprivation – which is why some people choose to listen to the sounds of background murmur online when they don’t have the real thing!
Those that enjoy people watching will also get a lot out of working in coffee shops, as will those who
Most coffee shops these days provide power points, WiFi, and of course coffee. You’ll need to buy a few drinks to work here, but the coffee may just increase your productivity to the point that it becomes a loss-leader!
Working from a library has a lot of great advantages. For one, it is usually free to sit in a library, even if you don’t buy anything.
Libraries also have the perfect ambiance and vibe for getting down to work – being filled with books and people quietly reading with their heads down, it is a very studious feeling environment.
3. Bars and Pubs
Bars might not be the kind of place you usually associate with getting work done, but actually, they can be well suited. For one, a good bar will provide you with that same background chatter. Plus, they are often fairly quiet places during the day. Pubs also sell cheap coffee during work hours, while you’ll also be able to get WiFi and power in most cases.
You could even have a beer or glass of wine and truly take advantage of being able to work from anywhere! Of course, getting drunk when you’re meant to be working isn’t recommended. But that said, it has been shown that a little alcohol can actually help to increase creativity. So it’s not all bad!
4. Co-Working Spaces
Co-working spaces are different from the other options on this list in that they are designed specifically for people who work remote! This is a great way to work with other like-minded people, to network, and to benefit from access to a host of useful luxuries and amenities.
There’s usually coffee, snacks, and multiple spots to work. The downside? You also often need to pay a fair amount.
5. A Friend’s House
If you know someone else who works from home, who is studying, or who is otherwise working from home, then why not visit them and work together?
This way, you can both get some work done and enjoy each others’ company. Plus, they will definitely have WiFi, coffee, and power!
6. Public Transport
In the book ‘Deep Work’ by Cal Newport, the author describes one professional who would book long flights to Japan and back, just so that they could work undisturbed on the plane!
Most of us don’t have the money to make regular trips that far, but it’s true that you can get work done on the move – whether it’s a train, or a plane. These environments keep us focused because there’s nowhere else to go, they provide us with an influx of beverages and food, and they often have WiFi and a tray for working on these days.
If you’re traveling anyway, why not make the most of the time and earn some cash?
Museums are similar to libraries in that they provide a studious and quiet space to work. Many have cafes and other spaces where you can sit and get work done too.
The best part is that you can explore and enjoy the displays during your breaks. And in many cases, this is once again free!
8. Hotel Rooms
Hotel rooms are in many cases the ideal locations for working online. Not only do they give you an entirely private space to work in that is a nice break from your usual environment, but they also often provide a desk to work at, a nice little light for working in the evening etc.
Hotels normally come with WiFi, and they have a lobby and bar downstairs often if you want a change of scene. There is a long history of authors and prolific creatives booking themselves into hotels to get undisturbed work done.
9. Private Office
If you have the money and the space, you can always create your own ideal working space in the local town. Renting an office is a big overhead, but it makes a lot of sense for many freelancers and start-ups as it gives them space to work and helps to create that all-important distinction between work and relaxation.
Finally, why not take this one step further and really travel? This way you can become a ‘digital nomad’ – someone who takes their laptop with them and goes to see the world. It’s a fantastic way to take full advantage of your situation and it can be a very exciting way to live.
While out there, look for all the above: bars, hotel rooms
A Few Factors to Consider When Choosing Where to Work
Of course, these 10 suggestions are really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to working online. You can literally work anywhere that won’t throw you out!
The question then, is what should you be looking for when choosing a good working space? What do all these things have in common? Here are some pointers.
Always look for the basics when choosing to work online. That means:
- A comfortable seat
- A table that is the right height
- Power (outlets to charge your laptop and phone)
- A good level of background murmur (not too quiet, not too noisy)
- Music not too loud (you should be able to block it out with noise canceling headphones)
- Somewhere that you will be welcome
- Some type of privacy (in case you need to hop on a call)
- Food and drinks – or permission to bring your own
Perhaps most important of all though is the ambience. What is the vibe like here? This is what makes coffee shops ideal in many situations.
While every coffee shop and café is different, there are a few common elements to be found at most of them. One is that they will tend to feature a lot of wooden tables; popular chain Café Nero in particular uses a lot of deep, dark woods which have a somewhat scholarly feel to them.
This is great at putting people in a more creative and productive frame of mind, as are the posters of that transport people to other parts of the world and the leather seats.
Some feature long tables with their own desk lamps – all of which creates a productive vibe and provides just the right amount of visual stimulus without being distracting. At the same time, these environments are very comfortable in many cases – but not to the extent that you’re likely to get too relaxed - which helps us to settle into work.
People are talking in the background which helps to provide you with just enough distraction to avoid letting your mind wander, but it’s not enough to break you from your concentration.
Try to think along the same lines for your own office design. What kinds of colors, lighting and layout will create a ‘feel’ of productivity and help people feel comfortable while at the same time stimulating them to want to work? And keep it in mind when looking at any other space to work: is the ambience right? Is the noise at the right level? Will you be distracted here, will you be comfortable?
Then there are the other things to keep in mind, like the lighting (avoid glare on the screen), and privacy. Over time, you’ll learn to spot the right venues as soon as you walk in through the door.
Working in a quiet bar while you watch people walk past outside with a drink can be conducive to a productive day. But working in a rave is not quite as effective. Keep your eyes open and you’ll find that your average city is brimming with great spots to work.
Time to think outside the box, or in this case, outside the office!