Sometimes all we need is a change of scenery to increase our productivity levels and get us amped up for work or a big project.
That’s because the same scenery can quickly put us in a drowsy state where it’s harder to think clearly and tick things off your list. We all know that staring at a computer screen for hours at a time can also be a dreadful experience. And that’s true whether you work from the office cubicle or whether you work remotely from your home office.
There are a number of great places, though, where you can work outside the office. And the best part is that they don’t all involve the local coffee shop (though that’s an option, too!) Here’s a few you might not have considered.
Public libraries are a prime spot for you to easily get work done. Public libraries have their own public WiFi offerings and all you’ll need is a library card. Check out your local library system and test out which ones work best for you. It’s always fun to check out the local historic libraries, which usually have the most scenic offerings. Consider it a great excuse for taking periodic breaks to get up and walk around.
You’ll also benefit from printing services and research computers. If you want to truly get work done in a beautiful library that’s less crowded, consider a private, member-supported library. You’ll pay a small fee to keep up the library, but it’ll still be less than paying for a coworking space.
You likely already know the three local Starbucks operating within the one mile radius from your home. You also have probably glimpsed the new, artisanal coffee shop around the corner. (Everyone’s been raving about it.) What you probably have paid less attention to is the local internet cafe. It’s true that many coffee shops these days offer Wi-Fi to customers, thus making them a prime spot for working outside the office.
Find new spots by focusing your search on internet cafes. The definition varies by region, with some coffee/lunch spots operating under the label while others are designed more with an office-vibe. Either way, you’ll up your chances of scoring a table, internet access and some uninterrupted, un-busy time.
Okay, so we’re not talking about hotel lobbies, exactly. At least, not anywhere where there’s a front desk. Rather, we’re referring to the bar/cafe area that most hotels have. These are usually open to the public and can turn into prime spots for working remotely.
If the idea, though, of pulling out your laptop and doing work in front of the bartender gives you anxiety, try this: Purchase a drink and kindly ask for the password. These areas are also usually emptier, especially during the day when hotel patrons are out and about exploring. Consider hotel lobbies your less-expensive alternative to a fancy coworking space (which have their own perks).
Many museums today offer free WiFi to visitors, which means you have yet another option for working remotely. As always with all public internet connections, be cautious of the kind of work you do while using the WiFi. It’s not ideal for downloading or uploading large files. Checking important, personal accounts might be too risky, so leave those for a secure connection.
While you usually have to pay for entry, many museums offer free admission on selects days of the month. This makes them optimal (and free!) options for working remotely. The best part? When you want to take a mental break, you can stroll through the galleries to clear your head and stretch your legs.
Okay, so you might not be able to work on your laptop at a botanical garden if you need an internet connection. But, it is an optimal place for when you need to be at your most creative self. When you’re surrounded by nature and able to slow down to absorb your surroundings, your creativity levels go up.
A botanical garden is a great place for you to take notes by hand, read any paperwork you’ve been putting off, or brainstorm, and reflect on your career goals. Yes—that’s all work! If you have to take a casual meeting, this is also a great place to suggest that isn’t a coffee shop.
Granted, the grocery store might not be at the top of your “productive places to work at” list. But, it’s worthwhile to remember that some grocery stores have a cafe or eatery area inside them. These are optimal places for you to sneak in some work and you’ll easily find a table.
If you’re already hitting the grocery store for your local shopping trip, consider allocating some extra time to grab a coffee and work. You’ll have the chance to check off some items from your to-do list while not having to drive and park at another spot.
Remember the days when you went to the local university to study before a big final exam? Universities and colleges are designed with students in mind. You can count on plenty of open spaces to do some alone work like reading or designing new projects. There is also likely an abundance of tables for work and forcasual meetings with colleagues or clients.
Getting access to the university’s internet system, however, might require a student ID. If the university offers classes to the public, you can sign up for a course and get access to the campus resources more easily.