If you’re one of the 53 million plus freelancers in the U.S. there’s a very good probability that you work from home. And, that can be both good and bad for business. For starters, you don’t have to worry about the dreaded daily commute to and from work so you can spend more time working. And, you get to stay in your pajamas all day working in a spot that you designed specifically to increase your productivity.
On the other hand, it can get lonely sitting in your home all day. Other challenges include getting easily distracted and finding the motivation to get started since there’s no clock or boss doing that for you.
Because of the pros and cons of working from home, every freelancer needs to break-out from time-to-time to socialize and break-up the monotony.
1. Local Library
The peace and quiet that libraries provide make them a favorite location for freelancers. Besides the ambience, local libraries provide a number of various seating options from cozy chairs to open desks to private rooms, as well as a reliable internet connection. And, you’re surrounded by books which means you can walk around and look for additional resources, as opposed to sitting behind your computer screen all day.
The only cost involved is getting your library card. And, that’s free to local residents.
If you enjoy the vibe that a library offers, but don’t enjoy the complete silence, then consider working at a bookstore. Many bookstores have free Wifi and a comfortable area for people to read, and also work. Unlike libraries, you can enjoy some snacks or a cup of coffee since cafes are usually present in bookstores. Some bookstores, such as the Housing Works Bookstore Cafe in New York, has a cafe that also serves beer and wine!
3. Coffee Shops
The local coffee shop is probably the go-to location for freelancers to work. Besides the Wifi, coffee shops have a unique vibe that can actually make people more productive and creative. Also, since coffee shops are frequented by so many other freelancers, it’s a great place to network.
If you do work at a coffee shop, try to avoid setting up shop during busy business hours, such as breakfast or lunch. Also, make sure that you purchase at least a fresh cup of coffee every hour so and share your table with other freelancers if the place is crowded.
4. Neighborhood Bar
I wouldn’t recommend going here during happy hour or during the weekend. But, your favorite watering hole can be a great option if you want to get out of the house for a little bit. Most bars have Wifi and are rather quiet during non-peak hours. Of course, this isn’t an excuse for you to start drinking – you’ll never get any work completed. You could have some lunch, order one drink, and work for a couple of hours in the afternoon.
Another non-conventional workplace, is you favorite diner or restaurant. Like many other businesses, they have Wifi and you may be able to set up in a large booth so that you have some privacy and decent sized workplace. Just as with coffee shops or bars, you should only use diner or restaurants as a workplace during non-peak hours.
The biggest downside with diners and restaurants is that you can’t use up the table all day. You can work while waiting for your meal and during your cup of coffee afterwards, but not too much longer after that.
If you’re traveling and need to get some work done, hotels are a great option. There’s Wifi access and most hotels are equipped with business centers. Even if you’re not traveling, hotels can still be an alternative to your home. Maya Angelou actually rented a hotel room in her hometown on a monthly basis where she could write in peace.
If you don’t want to splurge on a room for a night or two, you can always hand out in the lobby for a bit to take advantage of the comfortable seating and free Wifi that some hotels provide.
7. Grocery Stores
This may seem a bit off the wall, but if you live near a newer grocery store you probably noticed that there’s usually a cafe or other eating options accompanied next to a seating area. It’s kind of like a food court. Combine that with some free internet access and you have a workplace that you can visit next time you’re out grocery shopping.
8. Local Park
Getting outside is one of the best ways to boost your productivity. And, thanks to parks, we all have access to the great outdoors. While it is possible to tap into free Wifi access, not all parks have complimentary Wifi. If that’s the case, you may have to bring your own hotspot.
My favorite thing about working in a park is that there’s no time limit for you to be there. You could work there all day if you wanted, depending on the weather and your laptop’s battery life.
9. Coworking Spaces
Coworking spaces were constructed with freelancers in mind. There’s reliable Wifi and all the amenities that a typical office would include, such as conference rooms that you could use when meeting with clients. Prices vary depending on your needs and location, but there’s also some free coworking spaces like the Wix Lounge or the affordable Makeshift Community.
One of the best perks about coworking spaces is that it’s great place to meet your fellow freelancers so that you can network and exchange ideas.
10. Desk Rental
Get in touch with local agencies in your industry and ask if they have any spare desks that you could rent out. You can also turn to sites like Deskcamping, ShareDesk, or Breather to find available desks in your area. Like coworking spaces, desk rental give you access to office amenities and a chance to network.
11. Someone Else’s Home
If you have any friends, family, or colleagues who also work at home, why not see if you can come over to do a little work. I’ve done these plenty of times. You would think that it would be unproductive. But, my colleague and I always end up having great brainstorming sessions that fill up an entire whiteboard. We also exchange ideas and offer advice on each other’s projects.
Another benefit is that you’ll motivate each other to complete a project. I doubt the homeowner is going to sit back and binge watch Netflix while over their house working. And, if you need to get motivated, the go-getting attitude of the homeowner could get your inspired.
If you don’t know anyone where you can work for a bit without feeling like a freeloader, you can always rent a place on Airbnb if you need to get out of your home.
This may not be the case for all colleges and universities, but you can also go back to your Alma mater’s campus work in the library or computer lab. This is actually a service that is offered by pretty much every university to alumni. Not only are these quiet locations containing most of the resources that you need, the enthusiastic energy from current students could give you a boost of energy.
If you don’t leave near your Alma mater, you can pick up a class or two at a university near you. Besides learning a new skill that could advance your freelance career, you’ll now be granted access to workstations reserved for students.