Need a break from Baristas?
A month into your cafe tenancy and your teeth are stained, your nerves are shot, and your table neighbour is just waiting to launch into a synopsis of that novel he or she is (not) writing between facebook updates. You need a change of scenery, a bit of variety, and you don’t want to wear out your welcome.
You also risk this.
Here are five freelancer-friendly places that aren’t coffee shops.
1. Your local library
Maybe you’re not lucky enough to call one of these places
your local, but the library’s mission is to be a free public service, which means that you don’t have to feel funny moving tables several times a day, and you don’t have to buy anything. Your taxes have already paid for it. In a suburban or urban area, most will have opening hours that suit the freelancer’s schedule. It might even have a cafe, but you can order coffee out of caffeine requirement, not squatter’s remorse.
Make sure you: put your phone on silent
- Books! Research material and inspiration everywhere!
- No food allowed so muffin as well as muffin-top reduction practically guaranteed.
- Not ideal if people frequently need to contact you by phone.
- No longer the fortresses of silence they once were, so fans of shushing may be disappointed
2. Pub or Bar
While one might not be forthcoming to clients that one is working from a barstool, it may turn out to be quieter during the day than the library (my local librarian whistles — whistles!). Plus, it might have a jukebox, which will spare you the Dido-inspired (or worse, reggae) playlist. You’re probably pretty free to sit and order just what you want without feeling like you’re taking up space, and they’re unlikely to toss you out unless you start a brawl. Besides, surely the odd daytime beer is a perk of freelancing?
Make sure you: set up Google goggles if you order booze
- Booze (okay, and usually coffee)
- Just enough background entertainment
- Booze Possibly
- too much entertainment
3. Hotel lobby
It’s quiet, and most people are there to talk amongst themselves or be left totally alone, and there’s usually decent service. If you need a theoretical reason for that six-smacker cappuccino, German theorist Siegfried Kracauer says the hotel lobby is an epitome of modernity’s transcendental homelessness (what you and I call “freelancing”), where a presumed need for silence creates a temporary equality among everyone gathered there. In other words, it has a nominal function, but no one is bothered by your presence, and the white noise of tacit leave-me-alone agreement can be conducive to focusing your mind. Plus, sometimes they give out snacks.
Make sure you: look at least a little bit presentable, just so you blend
- The bathrooms are always nice
- Possible snacks
- Unnecessary but unavoidable need to pretend you’re staying there
- Possibly snackless
4. Rent an office or coworking space
That’s right, your peripatetic home-cafe-library-pub/bar-hotel-cafe-home approach might not only include the stress of keeping your laptop-unattended bathroom breaks short, it might not even be economical. Depending on the level of service you’re looking for you can pay anywhere from under a hundred dollars/euro a month to about four hundred per month. Plus, treating yourself like a professional is usually a good idea. It’s tough to drive a hard bargain when you have to mute Dr Phil so you can answer the phone.
- Guilt-free desk occupancy
- Working around like-minded people means networking, inspiration, possible collaboration
- Definitely means you are a grownup
- No table service
Make sure you: check out this site: Desk Wanted
Yes, it feels wrong to be taking an important call on a picnic blanket, and unlike in olden days, when a tan meant you’d been toiling, people can be suspicious of a healthy glow. It’s even better that it probably won’t have wifi (unless you’re in Paris). Choosing a quiet, secluded place, of course, puts you in direct competition with amorous couples, but you have just as much right to your loveless afternoon of placating emails and blindingly boring spreadsheets as they do to — well, whatever they are doing.
Make sure you: bring something to sit on and don’t drink too much water
- Nature, birds, fresh air — that sort of stuff – It’s a park!
- Probable and/or partial internet disconnection can increase productivity
- Toilet is everywhere and nowhere
- Heightened chance of afternoon spent staring at cloud formations
Five other suggestions that will depend on your city:
- Museum or gallery lobby or courtyard (in cities where museums offer free or cheap admission)
- Trains, long-distance buses
- Shopping mall (in places where this wouldn’t be considered loitering)
- Jelly: casual co-working, more on which soon!
- Arts or community centre (here in Dublin, the Project Arts Centre welcomes creative types during the day and even supplies coffee and plug sockets)
Outside of home or a coffee shop, what’s your favourite spot to get work done?