Tips for Working Remotely

by in Productivity Tips

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.

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About the Author - Shannon Weidemann

Shannon Weidemann is married to her network engineer husband and mother to two daughters, one the human kind and the other of the canine variety. She has been working at home since 2002. She blogs about working from home and affiliate marketing at MarketingElf and also has a bit of a passion for children's party supplies.


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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Loretta April 17, 2012 at 2:44 pm

I find that Barnes & Noble has comfy chairs to sit in with your laptop and no one seems to care if you lurk for a few hours and most of them have a Starbucks right there as well, so you can alternate between big cushy comfortable chair and little table in the corner if you want to (and of course drink a bunch of lattes!)


Tricia April 17, 2012 at 3:53 pm

I am so glad that you mentioned buying something! I don’t even drink coffee but I make sure that I get a tea or hot chocolate if someone wants to work with me at Starbucks. It just seems fair.


Lauryn Doll April 18, 2012 at 12:05 pm

Yes! This is an awesome tip. My haunts of choice:

– Panera: Their rewards program is awesome, plus the chairs are cozy. The locations vary in terms of outlet availability and comfort, but overall you can get a lot of work done and enjoy a good You Pick Two.

– Starbucks: Good brew (mochas are my fave) and good service.

– Barnes & Noble: Books and brew … I’m sold.


Shannon Weidemann April 18, 2012 at 12:50 pm

Loretta and Lauryn, Barnes and Noble is also a great suggestion. Their Starbucks usually has sandwiches and cheesecake too! Not that it is all about the food ;)

Lauryn I also go to Panera on occasion too. They can be extremely busy at lunch time, so go early in the morning or early afternoon.

Tricia you can also have them flavor your hot chocolate if you want something a little different. Try a caramel or peppermint hot chocolate next time :)


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