When your kids are in school, working from home can get very lonely. You can go days without talking to another adult. Plus there is the added temptation of throwing one more load of laundry in, vacuuming the floors, and cleaning the stack of dirty dishes in the kitchen sink. When I am finding my work productivity shot due to those distractions, it is time to pack up my laptop bag and find a new place to work for the day.
My remote office of choice is Starbucks. They offer free wifi, have drinks and food, and a pretty lenient policy of taking up residence at one of their tables for a few hours. There are probably a number of places that would work in your area too, including your local library, coffee shop, or fast food restaurant.
Over the years I have picked up a number of tips for working from a remote office that I would like to share with you. Here are some great things to keep in mind:
- Always order something. This seems like such a no brainer, but you would be surprised how many times I have spotted someone take up a table at a coffee shop and not order a drink or muffin. A good rule of thumb is to buy something every two hours.
- Bring the essentials: mouse, pen, pad of paper, headphones, and laptop charging cable. You want to bring everything that you think you will need, because it is unlikely you will be able to borrow any of these items once you settle in. I love headphones because if you don’t like the choice of music or a nearby conversation is distracting, you can plug in and listen to your own choice of music.
- Don’t take phone calls. While the point of getting out is to get some work done, not all work is appropriate for this location. No one around you is going to want to listen to you talking on the phone and the loud nature of a coffee shop can make it difficult for the people on the other end of the line to hear you. Save the phone calls for later.
- Set your goals ahead of time. If you arrive without a to do list, your time might end up wasted surfing on the internet or checking out Facebook. Figure out what you want to do ahead of time to make the most out of your work session.
- Be courteous. Most people using a coffee shop as an office probably want to sit near an outlet, but there are only so many of those to go around. If you don’t need to be plugged in, pick a different spot. Don’t take up a table for four people if there is only one of you. Or better yet share a table with someone else doing the same thing as you.
Sometimes working out of the home every once in awhile is a great way to get out of a rut and back to happy productivity.