A home office can have many perks, but living and working under the same roof can also become uninspiring (and even tedious) if you don't make time in your schedule for a change of scenery.
Working from an alternate location can reenergize your productivity, reduce boredom, and make you less likely to procrastinate. If your job requires you to travel from your home office, you're likely accustomed to using every opportunity to connect with free Wi-Fi, a comfortable chair, and a pair of noise-canceling headphones. Whether you love it or hate it, the discipline of getting work done away from your home office is a smart skill to practice.
The Great Outdoors
If you need Wi-Fi to work, you can always take a hotspot with you when you leave your home office. Many locations near parks, libraries, and public universities offer their own free Wi-Fi if you get the urge to work in the great outdoors.
Being in a bright, open-air environment can bring energy and new thinking to your workflow. Taking phone calls in a place that offers sunshine and fresh air can make work a refreshing escape from whatever is waiting for you indoors.
Few places offer a better alternative to the home office than coffee shops. Virtually all offer free Wi-Fi with your purchase and you can alternate between people watching and work. Although you won't have to make your own coffee when you want a refill, you should be aware of holding down one location for too long or taking business calls within earshot of other paying customers. Once again, use every opportunity to get outside when chatting on the phone, if only to stretch your legs and keep a low profile in your favorite coffee shop.
If you need an excuse to travel, being on an airplane can offer hours of uninterrupted time to focus on your work. Depending on the airline, free or paid Wi-Fi is provided, as well as seat outlets, coffee, and snacks. Make sure to pack noise-canceling headphones and a screen protector for extra privacy.
When it comes to wooing clients, restaurants are usually preferable for meetings than a home office. Fast food restaurants are generally not the most peaceful places to focus on work, but most offer free Wi-Fi and affordable food, so they’re an option when you're on the move.
Libraries are a wonderful, public resource for when you need to get out of the home office. Most libraries have meeting rooms, technology, and comfortable chairs that create a pleasant place to focus. They offer free Wi-Fi and vast collections of resources if you need to research academic journals, archives, or local information. You're welcome to stay from open to close, and can choose to work from outside if the Wi-Fi connection is strong. Naturally, you can't take calls or carry on conversations inside, but most libraries will allow guests to reserve private meeting rooms.
It might seem counterintuitive to work at a museum, but most offer free Wi-Fi, indoor and outdoor places to work, and a quiet atmosphere. Beyond this, surrounding yourself with art can be inspirational for graphic design, copywriting, and much more. Call or scout the museum before planning your workday, as most have an entrance fee and a few unique rules.
Around the world, coworking spaces offer drop-in and membership rates for remote workers seeking a place to focus or take a meeting. They often come complete with office space, high-speed Wi-Fi, and places to cook or relax. These spaces should be used strategically, as they tend to cost much more than other options and have unique rules and communities built around their offering. Research what local options are available and consider what you'll be getting for your time and money spent.
How to Work in Alternative Locations
By practicing mobility within your work, you can be productive no matter where you are. Using web-based tools, such as project management applications, real-time messaging, and scheduling software can help keep work flowing smoothly as you alternate between locations or time zones.
No matter where you work, do everything you can to keep your hardware and software safe from would-be thieves. While many locations may offer free Wi-Fi, keep in mind that many are not secure, even if password protected. When working with sensitive data, you should use a virtual private network (VPN) or bring your own Wi-Fi hot spot as you travel.