04 Jun 2021
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Remote Work Hacks: Not at Home Edition

So, you’re working from home, but you don’t want to stay at home? Whether you’re just bored of your home office and need new scenery, or your family has vacation time coming up but you need to get stuff done, here are a few tips and tricks for working away from your home office.

The Beach

If you’re fortunate enough to live near a lake or beach, it stands to reason you might end up working from there a bit. Maybe you’re watching the kids take a dip while you catch up on emails or maybe you just want to enjoy the view and fresh air while you finish a slide deck.

Pro tip: Whenever working outside, it’s a good idea to invest in an anti-glare laptop screen protector. In case you want to sit in the sun instead of the shade.

A Coworking Space

Coworking spaces are kind of like offices away from home. Operating on a scaled membership model, the most basic services will offer desk space and internet. But with more costly memberships, you can get perks like access to private meeting rooms, conference rooms, reserved spaces, perks from the in-house coffee shop, access to events, and more. A coworking space can serve as an office for when you just need to get out of the house or a place where you get the regular perks of an office that you just can’t get from a home office.

Pro tip: If you are taking your home office on the move, make sure you have exactly what you need and not a thing more. Laptop, phone, headset, charging cable(s), backup battery, water bottle, and an energy bar if you get snacky. That’s it. Keep your bag pared down to just the essentials, so you’re not schlepping a monster-sized briefcase everywhere you go. See Steve Wozniak for what we mean by that.

The Cabin

There can be a lot of challenges to working off the grid. Power can be an issue as can connectivity. But rather than thinking of these as limitations, think of them as features. Sure, you might not get every email or Slack notification, but some enforced isolation might be a good way to focus deeply on projects that sorely require your attention. And maybe you’ll only have intermittent power, but that gives you a deadline.

Pro tip: Pick up a solar-powered battery before you head into the bush. Be sure to let your coworkers and clients know that, although you’ll be working, you’ll be off-grid. If necessary, you can resolve to head into town once a day and respond to messages then.

Coffee Shop

Ah, the remote office before everyone had to work remotely. If you’re going to post up at a coffee shop to get work done, as many remote professionals do, stick to these rules. First, buy something at least every hour. Occupying a table in effect costs the shop money, so be a good citizen and spring for a $5 muffin. Second, don’t speak on your phone. Even though you’re using a coffee shop as your office, it still isn’t your office and everyone else in the space deserves to enjoy themselves. Third, practice good public Wi-Fi safety habits. Don’t use public Wi-Fi to do stuff like check your bank account. Consider using a VPN. Finally, remember that some coffee shops are work-friendly and some are not.

Pro tip: It can be helpful to forget your charger. Why? Well, if you need a change of scenery to focus and get work done, having your diminishing laptop battery act as a deadline can be helpful. Otherwise you might just end up watching YouTube in a Starbucks.

Staying with Family & Friends

Sometimes you’re obligated to travel to and stay with family or friends while at the same time obligated to get work done. Or family and friends come to stay with you. If it’s the former, try to stake out some territory to get work done. If the latter, be clear with guests about when you can be interrupted and when you can’t. Be strategic about separating work time from personal time. You may have to get up early or stay up late to work when you can’t be interrupted or when it won’t impact your personal time.

Pro tip: If kids are involved, you can co-opt them into your plan. They can hang out with you and do their homework while you work. Or, if they’re very young, they can “work” on things like crafts or drawing while you work.

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