We live in a new world where working behind a desk or in a cubicle in a regular 9-5 isn’t always the norm. The rise of free agents and freelancers is increasing and most remote workers find their remote office space in their neighborhood coffee shops.
I’ve been working remotely for over two years now. While I have a great home office space, I oftentimes need a rhythm and routine that gets me out of the house. So, most days I opt to work from many of the amazing coffee shops around my neighborhood in Chicago. Over the past couple of years I’ve learned a few things about working from coffee shops and thought I’d share them with you.
1 – Go Local
2 – Leave Fully Charged
3 – Make Friends With (and Tip!) Your Baristas
4 – Be the hero of the day and pack a power strip.
5 – Read the room and discern how to take calls.
6 – Wi-Fi… Free or Paid?
- Free for all. Unrestricted, reliable Wi-Fi is a dream for telecommuters. It’s the best of both worlds. If you happen upon a coffee shop like this, treasure it, and be sure not to buy one latte and call it a day. I usually try to buy one latte for a block of about 2 hours. It’s only fair, especially if you are at a locally-owned coffee shop.
- Purchase = Wi-Fi. Many other coffee shops give you Wi-Fi code with a purchase and oftentimes it’s for a block of anywhere to 1-2 hours. While that can be annoying at times, I do find that the time restriction helps me focus and get to work on things that matter instead of distracting myself with BuzzFeed articles and funny YouTube videos (although distractions can be helpful throughout the day). If I have a limited amount of time in my day, I certainly try to make it a point to go to places where my wi-fi time is restricted.
- Pay for Wi-Fi. Don’t do it. I can understand a purchase gaining you wifi, but if you are asked to pay for Wi-Fi it’s not worth it unless you want to write it off. The kind of coffee shop that wants you to pay for wi-fi is not a place I want to support.
- No Wi-Fi. There are a number of coffee shops in Chicago popping up that intentionally do not have Wi-Fi. Before you avoid the no Wi-Fi zones or drain your data plan tethering your iPhone, consider this… no Wi-Fi coffee shops provide a great opportunity for you to disconnect and focus. If you need to crank out some writing, need space to organize your thoughts, or an undistracted environment to meet with someone, the no Wi-Fi coffee shops can be a great option.
7 – Change it Up
8 – Be willing to look out for others