When you work from home you’re bound to get stir-crazy every now and then. You’re in the same space, all day, every day. You’re there before, during, and after you login and logout; Monday – Friday, Saturday and Sunday. You sleep, eat, and relax there. You get the point. Yes, while it’s certainly nice to be in your own space, when you’re there all the time it can take a toll.
The good news is if you’re a remote employee you likely have the option to take your work on the go and get out of the house at times. Shared workspaces are popping up more and more which are a great option but if you’re not keen on paying for a place to work (or don’t want to be in an office) there’s nothing like a bustling coffee shop for a change of pace and to get your creative juices flowing. But since coffee shops are not your own space and because they’re all a little different, there are a few things you should take into consideration before planning to tackle a whole, or part of an, 8 hour workday at one.
Here are 5 tips to have the most productive day possible when you work from your local caffeine watering hole:
- Don’t do it when you have a ton of calls. Coffee shops are great. They have freshly brewed specialty drinks and make drip better than you probably do at home, you can get your sugar fix with a tasty pastry (if you’re lucky maybe they have good Quiche), plus they’re loaded with personality and energy, and have people watching–great, great people watching. They also have the noises and chaos of coffee beans being ground, lattes and smoothies being made, and people in the middle of conversations. If you have a long block of phone calls it might be best to find a more suitable, quiet location; the participants on the call you’re leading will thank you.
- Scope it out, and specifically test out the wifi. Again, coffee shops are great. They have all of the above plus free wifi. But not all wifi is created equal. And for the remote employee who relies on a strong internet connection, connectivity problems can ruin an otherwise productive day. Whenever possible test out the wifi with your work device(s) before you plan to camp out somewhere. Pro-tip: go even further and test out logging into your VPN if you have it. You want to be sure that you don’t have any issues connecting to a specific network, especially if it’s non-secured. If you have any problems inquire with your IT department; spare your baristas from your complaints and request to reset the router, it’s likely not the coffee shop but rather your machine/restrictions and can often be solved with a few tweaks to your VPN login settings (I couldn’t tell you what exactly since I contacted my IT team 🙂 )
- Be sure the space will suit you. When you’re checking out the wifi and Quiche situation also spend a moment taking in the general lay of the land. What’s the atmosphere like? Specifically what are the workspaces like that you’ll have access to? Will you be able to have your own counter or does the shop have a shared space culture so even if you arrive first and score the big table in the back there’s a chance college students will come join you and have a study group a foot away? Does this even matter to you? Only you know what you need to work/function best. Consider this before you change your work environment even just for a morning.
- Come prepared….with snacks. Paying for a few cups of Joe a day can add up. Not to mention that specialty drink, a bottle of water, the banana that was perfectly ripe, a single pack of cashews during your mid-afternoon slump, and the artisan avocado toast you had to have after seeing the guy next to you devour his. Just like you might plan to bring snacks and a lunch to an office plan for meals while working from a coffee shop. It’s poor form to bring your own coffee but bringing a sandwich and some light fare is completely acceptable and will keep you (and your wallet) fueled and full.
- Don’t forget your juice. Along with a spotty internet connection one thing that can really put a damper in your attempt to work away from your desk is when you’re in a groove on a project only to get an alert that your battery is low. No problem, right? Simply dig into your bag to grab your charger but, boom! Not there. Do yourself a favor and always double check that you have all your power cords. Don’t think that you’re going to be out of the house long enough to need to re-charge? Bring it anyway. Yes, bring your phone charger too.
What are your go-to ways to make working from a coffee shop work for you? Am I the only one who takes all of this into consideration before deciding to work from somewhere other than my home office for the day? Share tips, tricks, and thoughts in the comments below!