Working from home feels great and with advances in technology, it’s easier than ever. But if you’re unemployed spending all your time at home makes it tough to stay motivated. If that’s the case for you here’s some workspace ideas to boost your productivity. Before we get started, let’s look at the equipment you need. And the characteristics of a great work environment.
EQUIPMENT YOU NEED
MacBook Air or computer with all-day battery– You won’t always find an outlet.
Food- Helps you stay energized. Bring it with you or buy it somewhere.
Good bag– For carrying all your gear, extra clothes, etc.
Gum/ hygiene stuff– Essential if you want to tidy up before networking.
Wireless hotspot(optional)- Great if you want to work anywhere and rather not use Wi-Fi.
Bottle or mug– Needed for water, coffee or tea to sip while you work.
Noise canceling headphones– A lifesaver if your work environment is too loud.
Notepad or app– To track which hours, days and locations where you’re most productive.
Good shoes– If you’re doing a lot of walking, the right pair of shoes make all the difference.
CHARACTERISTICS OF A PERFECT WORKSPACE
The below requirements make working away from home easier. But not every venue you go to meets these criteria. That’s okay. I often work at different places daily based on my workload. So feel free to change where you go each day to stay productive.
Easy access to restrooms
Abundant seating choices
Somewhere to eat or nearby
Not too loud or visually distracting
Access to water
Able to take phone calls
Now that you’ve got your checklist here’s some places to work away from home.
I’ve praised the library before for its excellent job resources, but it’s also a great workspace. And the private rooms, free Wi-Fi, and the library staff’s helpful advice make it easy to work here. Best of all it’s almost always quiet. So, if you need somewhere to focus a library works great.
Unfortunately, not all libraries contain the best working environment. Since people use them every day, they get overcrowded fast and finding a place to sit gets difficult. Also, the library sometimes attracts the wrong crowd. Like homeless people and kids who aren’t supervised by their parents.
The most frustrating thing? Bathroom locations. Usually, libraries put their most productive spots on higher floors and the bathrooms on the lower level. So anytime you leave your workplace you’ll often find someone took your spot when you come back. It’s difficult to take phone calls here because of the quiet rule and eating here isn’t an option either. Finally, learn to memorize the library hours to avoid frustration. Some libraries don’t open until noon or later. And if you’re most productive in the morning, you might want to work somewhere else. However, some libraries don’t contain any of these problems. So if your local one isn’t working try another.
A great cafe, restaurant or bar and an excellent beverage make for a fun venue to get work done. These locations offer free Wi-Fi and easy access to bathrooms. And sometimes feature better seating than almost any public space. So it’s often more appealing to work here than other places. Research also shows that the natural background sound of these spots improves people’s productivity. Lastly, It’s easier to take phone calls here and the hours aren’t too limited like libraries.
The price. If you’re working from one every day, those three dollar coffees add up fast. You’ll likely spend more too if you use these locations as a full workday spot. Depending on where you go the Wi-Fi’s lacking, and sometimes you’re limited to two hours. The environment’s often visually distracting and loud too. Especially if the kitchen staff uses blenders and other noisy equipment. So definitely bring some noise canceling headphones and listen to music to stay productive.
Did you know most hotels offer free Wi-Fi in their lobby even if you’re not a guest? I discovered this little secret while visiting the San Francisco Hilton Hotel in Union Square for a convention. When I need a change of work environment, and a cafe or library won’t cut it, I go to a hotel. As a bonus hotels usually partner with Starbucks, so you’re always properly caffeinated. The lounge chairs along with the great desks mean you almost always have somewhere to sit. And if you’re a night owl, it’s a great option since most hotels stay open 24 hours.
Since you’re not a guest, the hotel staff possibly won’t like that you’re working here. So, buying a coffee or tea at the hotel Starbucks and not overstaying your visit isn’t a bad idea. Other concerns? Hotels frequently hold conventions. Which sometimes means when you go to the place it’s too loud and hard to find seating. Finally, it’s worth noting that the Wi-Fi isn’t always safe. Since people travel all over the world and come to a hotel, you’ll never know who’s watching your Wi-Fi.
Mall/department stores/ grocery stores
The mall, Target, Whole Foods and other public big brand stores all offer great workstations. Since they’re common in almost every area finding them isn’t a problem and commuting to them isn’t hard. Each venue offers plenty of seating, food and bathrooms within easy reach too.
It gets pretty crowded here and as a result, your ideal seat sometimes isn’t available. To offset this make sure to go at the right times. Like before lunch and dinner times. Avoid it on weekends too since these locations do their biggest sales then. Sometimes the Wi-Fi isn’t strong in these places either. Which makes getting work done difficult because of a slow connection. Still, working from these locations offers many benefits.
Just because you don’t go to school anymore doesn’t mean you can’t head to a college campus to get some work done. The union, library, outdoors and college campus buildings make for a nice change of pace. An empty classroom works great too, and it’s quiet like a library. College campuses also welcome famous guest speakers, classes, and events open to the public. Making it a good place to network as well.
College campus Wi-Fi only works for students and staff. To offset this problem bring a Wi-Fi hotspot or work without internet. However, some colleges do partner with popular brands like McDonalds and Starbucks, which do offer free Wi-Fi.
Working at home isn’t bad, but it’s often fun to change up your routine. Try out some of these places and see if you notice a difference in your work productivity. Don’t see your favorite workspace? Please leave your thoughts in the comments and stay tuned for part two.