The best thing about remote work is it doesn’t have to be from your home. If you’re lucky enough to live in a place with plenty of places to work from, you’ll never feel the need to escape. But if you’re working remotely and find yourself commuting way out of your way, here are nine other places that should never be considered “too far” away.
Everyone knows the quiet and peace of a library. It’s the perfect place for a remote worker to be productive. You’ll find plenty of places to sit, food is generally available, and the internet is free. I’ve had plenty of brainstorming sessions at my local public library, and no one ever complained about me being there with my headphones on and typing away at my laptop throughout the day.
There are a few other benefits to working from a library as well. They often have free, private workspaces you can use for a specified period of time. This is great if you need to meet with someone or need an extra-quiet space to get work done. I’ve even used these spaces to record a podcast episode before — they can definitely be quieter than a home environment, that’s for sure.
Additionally, libraries provide tons of resources for your next big project, from physical and digital books, research advice from librarians, and even creator equipment. My local library has computer labs that have professional video and audio editing software, high-quality microphones, a recording booth, musical instruments, and more.
Libraries sometimes get a reputation for being boring but dive a little deeper, and you’ll find a space that’s perfectly suited to travel business owners, remote workers, and content creators alike.
If you’re going to be working from a hotel, might as well work from the lobby. The chances that someone will come up and bother you are low, and you’ll rarely find a place quieter and with more free resources available (can you say free continental breakfast?).
I’ve used various hotel lobbies as makeshift offices when I was traveling through different cities. There’s almost always an outlet and WiFi available if you’re not the type to stay close to the pool (which is probably just distracting, anyway).
I’ve even heard of some who work at hotels they’re not staying at. Depending on the level of traffic the hotel receives, hotel workers may not even notice you’re not a guest. If you do feel like they’ll notice you, simply asking permission to use wifi before sitting down goes a long way and the chance you’ll be denied is very slim.
Public parks are a great place to work when you’re sick of being inside and want to enjoy the nice weather for once. With that said, it can sometimes be difficult to find a spot comfortable enough to work for prolonged periods of time, so there are a couple of things you’ll need to look out for.
First, you’ll likely need relatively comfortable seating. The grass is comfortable for brief periods, but the reality is that even with an ergonomic office chair, sitting for long periods can be hard on your body, so I wouldn’t overstress it necessarily.
Next, you’ll likely need shade. Depending on the climate of your area, this can be mildly to extremely important. Here in Colorado, where I’m located, the sun can be extremely bright due to the high elevation, so this is a must for me. Once you find a place to sit in the shade, you’ll find that it’s not too unlike working from a restaurant patio or courtyard.
Coworking spaces have a reputation for being expensive and sales-focused, but many coworking spaces are set up to cater to remote workers, offering daily rates, extremely fast wifi, free coffee, and tons of networking opportunities.
Generally, you’ll have the option of choosing between a commons area, a dedicated desk, and a dedicated office. While a dedicated desk can be nice, in practice, they’re often not much different than the first-come-first-come spots. If you really need to hunker down and focus, I recommend that you look into a room.
One thing to note about coworking spaces is that many companies have multiple locations throughout the world. If you’re planning on hitting major population hubs, it could be beneficial for you to pay monthly as opposed to per day.
Public universities are some of my favorite places to work, and not just because it reminds me of the days before my youth escaped me. They tend to have some of the best-maintained working facilities out of any on this list, and in my experience, they usually offer free guest wifi as well. While you’ll want to be courteous so as to not take up valuable study space for students paying to be there, there are usually plenty of quiet corners to be found.
Another great aspect of working from a university campus is that where there are students, there are tons of convenient food options as well. Areas with college campuses are often loaded with food trucks, taco stands, sandwich shops, and grab-and-go convenience stores. My favorite burritos in the world come from a restaurant on my alma mater’s campus.
Slowly but surely, the number of restaurants and bars that include free wifi for workers is expanding, which is lucky because this opens a whole world of opportunities for remote workers, from local patios to traditional pubs.
One of my favorite places to work is Village Inn because I’ve found that almost no matter where I am in the country, they’re very welcoming, have cheap coffee, and have free wifi. Another great option where you can meet new friends as you meet your deadlines is a local microbrewery. Breweries often have nice patios to enjoy a breeze on and come with a hum of conversation that can help some focus.
If you love a quiet, cozy, and secluded space to work in, you’ll love working at a book shop. Bonus points if the bookstore has a vintage theme with thick, green carpet that dampens the sound more than previously thought possible.
You’ll want to confirm that the store you’re headed to has seating and wifi before you go, but the big advantage of bookstores is that they are naturally quiet and often come with a coffee option as well.
Many bookstores these days come with free wifi, and some even come with free coffee.
I first found my love for working on public transit when in transit to more work-appropriate destinations. However, public transit doesn’t just have to be a place where you work on your way to other destinations. There’s something about seeing the city pass you by while you’re on a light rail while you write away, take a call, or check your email.
There are a couple of things you’ll need to think about before you start working, though. First, you’ll need to make sure you have a wifi-hotspot, as very few busses and trains come with wifi on board. This also means that this won’t be an option if you’re needing to upload or download huge amounts of data.
Second, you’ll want to be aware of your surroundings and keep in mind the overall business of the ride you’re planning to take. If you’re on a busy ride, it might be less ideal conditions for pulling your laptop out and getting to work. What’s more, is that some cities and some routes, in particular, may have higher-than-average crime rates, and you’ll want to be smart about your approach. While I’ve never personally heard of someone having their laptop stolen, it’s a possibility in any space, transit notwithstanding.
I saved what many would consider the best for last.
Imagine having the benefits and laid-back atmosphere of a coworking space but not be expected to pay a dime for it (coffee included). That’s the goal of public business centers, at least for the shared spaces they offer. While they are a newer phenomenon that aren’t available in every city, if you do come across one, you’ll find that they’re great spaces to work and connect with like-minded folk.
One thing to note is that, while shared co-working spaces in public business centers is typically free (along with the coffee), dedicated desks typically come at a premium. As always, you’ll want to evaluate your options and choose what works best for you.
It can sometimes be a drag to go from one coffee shop to the next while working remotely, but with a little creativity, you can find some really fun and unique environments that help you fuel your focus, and really, you can’t go wrong with any of the places on this list.
While it’s a little hit-or-miss, I also think it can be fun and exhilarating to just wander around your city and see what appeals to you.
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