Guest post by Sam Title
The home office is a fantastic place to do work. In fact, according to a report by the Telework Research Network, readers of Working Naked are among the telecommuting masses that will number close to 63 million strong by 2016 – and that’s just in the U.S. alone.
But working “naked” doesn’t have to be an all or nothing proposition. Like the bathrobe, or the towel, there are other ways to feel somewhat covered and not completely stripped of the warm comforts of a traditional office environment.
It’s okay to work someplace else. Yes, you read that right. That doesn’t mean abandoning your home office. It’s about the opportunity to find a space between working at home and working in an office. I’m talking about The Coffice – a coffee shop used by professionals to get work done.
Not unlike your home office, which wasn’t built in a day, using a coffee shop, even sporadically, requires some preparation.
Bear in mind, working from a coffee shop can be as unique an experience as each and every home office set up; and like your ideal home office set up, it should work for you — whether it’s your local indie shop or a location owned by a large corporate coffee company.
The following five tips are some general guidelines when exercising the Coffice option.
1. Prepare the night before
Charge everything and pack your workbag the night before if you know you’ll be working away from your home office tomorrow. Your bag should be sturdy, compact, protective and able to take a beating and get dirty. Water resistant would be ideal too — whether for inclement weather or the odd spill.
2. Don’t forget
Bring all of your laptop accessories including power and connection cords, peripherals (mouse, memory, etc.); portable powerbar/powerstrip or extension cord; paper and pens/pencils; ear buds/headphones; your business cards and other company marketing collateral (A coffee shop can be a treasure trove of networking opportunities.)
3. Know where to go
Choose a coffee shop based on your own needs. For example; proximity to home, corporate office, children’s schools, amenities (restaurants, gym, supermarket, business supplies store); wireless Internet access (strength, cost, network security level, time limitations). You can ensure your destination of choice takes you as close to or as far from wherever you need to be before your arrival or after your departure.
4. Consider your power source
When you arrive at your coffee shop of choice, if it’s previously unfamiliar to you, try to locate a seat closest to a power source. If you can’t find one, that’s okay because you charged everything last night, right? If you absolutely need power, this is a great time to suggest sharing an outlet by plugging in your powerbar. It’s a great way to make friends and connections…perhaps your next great business lead or the future love of your life.
5. Remember to buy
It’s important to remember that the space you’re occupying and the wifi you’re accessing is there for paying customers only. In other words, buy something. The rule of thumb is to purchase something at least once every hour you spend there. It may vary depending on where you work. If in doubt, ask others around you or even the staff.
While working from home has so many perks, working from a coffee shop can provide a nice middle ground between a traditional office setting and your home office. A change of scene is great for recharging so that you can continue doing amazing work. In traditional office settings they call it a coffee break. When you work from home, sometimes you need a Coffice break. I encourage you to give it a try.
Sam Title is Chief Executive Cofficer of The Coffice, a fast-growing online community dedicated to professionals who work from coffee shops. To learn more about and interact with The Coffice’s growing membership, sign up for priority access to the freshly brewed community, launching soon.