More and more companies are allowing staff to work remotely. This is a great option for most of us, save for some potential issues. For some of us, coworking spaces aren’t an option, though, and home is full of distractions (family, roommates, pets, household chores, etc.)
If you’re struggling with this, you’ll be glad to know there are many great places you can work away from home without paying a dime or having to wait in long queues to get a desk. Here are some of the best unconventional spaces where you can work remotely:
Local Conservatories And Public Parks
One of my favorite locales to work remotely is at a local park or conservatory. I plug in inside the conservatory in colder weather or overly hot days, and I enjoy the picnic tables at parks in the moderate weather days. Many parks now have Wifi, and many internet services offer free hot spots around the city (Comcast/Xfinity, for example). Do a little research before picking your spot.
Lobbies: Hotels, Youth Hostels, Gyms, Etc.
Let that gym membership pull double-duty with not only giving you a space to work out, but also a space for your away-from-home remote-work hours. Most gyms have lobbies with tables and chairs set up, along with free Wifi.
You can also check out the lobbies at local non-emergent health centers (there’s an amazing one near me that has incredible views!), hotels, youth hostels, and similar locations. They’re technically privately owned, but many of them have amenities like coffee shops, lobby seating, and free Wifi and may not mind you getting a change of scenery as you work away from home for a few days here or there.
Note: Be sure that if you visit a health care facility’s lobby, you only go to non-emergent centers to avoid getting in the way of emergency situations, as well as staying away from acute health conditions that may be contagious.
Universities and colleges are a fantastic place to work away from home, especially because they usually have some type of free Wifi, amenities (bathrooms, cafes), plenty of seating, and quiet spaces. I often work from my seminary campus on days I don’t have classes and find it to be a peaceful, comfortable work environment where folks don’t bother me or ask if I can leave early. Campus libraries are usually open pretty late, too, so even if you’re an evening worker, you’re usually set.
Local bookstores, whether locally owned or chain/franchise, may offer a great work environment for you. You can pull up a chair at the café, with or without buying that expensive latte, and plug in. Since you’re not taking space away from paying customers by sitting there, most bookstores won’t mind you camping out a while as you work.
The House Of Worship Where You Hold Membership Or Attend Regularly
If you’re a member or regular attender at a house of worship, you could take advantage of their lobbies, cafes, sitting rooms, and other comfortable spaces. You do need to be a known face, however, unless you have some other kind of “in” there. Many churches, synagogues, mosques, etc. welcome unknowns, but some may consider it disrespectful to show up for work but not worship.
Pre-Security Airport Zones
One of my favorite places to work, especially when I’ve got the travel bug but can’t go anywhere, is the pre-security areas of airports. There are usually restaurants, sitting areas, and free Wifi here, and most people won’t bother you if you’ve got some headphones on. Just be sure you don’t dress like you work there.
Department Stores And Malls
Finally, a unique alternative for your remote workspaces is the department store. Since I live in Chicago, someplace like Macy’s would be ideal for me, but wherever you live, you’re bound to find some standalone department stores that have free Wifi and worktables that aren’t too crowded.
If you don’t have a ton of department stores, you can always hit up the food court at the local mall, too. It’s a place with plenty of amenities, free Wifi, and no requirement to purchase anything before you plug in.