Globally, we are becoming a population of remote workers. This trend started well before Covid-19, though the quarantines certainly accelerated it.
McKinsey’s American Opportunity Survey found that nearly 60% of the American workforce works from home at least once a week in the post-Covid world. But individuals who frequently work from home may find times of distraction, stalled creativity, or simply desire a change in scenery.
There are many options available and we’re positive you don’t need to live in New York or Austin to find something other than a coffee shop that will work for you.
We’ve compiled 12 unique places you may not have considered when seeking the best place to work remotely outside your home. And most don’t require you to live in a big city.
Why Your Workspace Matters
Perhaps you work best in quiet spaces or need a private corner to join a zoom meeting. Others may do their best independent work in a busy environment with opportunities for social interaction breaks.
Before you pack up your laptop, though, you’ll want to consider WiFi availability, internet speed, and the location’s hours, among other factors. Create a list of what features matter most to you. If internet speed isn’t a huge factor, but the distance to your child’s school is, start your search there. If cost isn’t a factor, consider local coworking spots, look at reviews online, or call to get a list of perks.
We hope the list below gives you plenty of ideas to get started finding the perfect remote work environment in your city.
1. Your Local Library
For absolutely no cost, libraries offer a quiet location with WiFi and a plethora of research. Most libraries don’t require you to have a library card unless you plan to check out books.
Depending on the library, private rooms may be available for taking calls or virtual meetings. Plan to sign up in advance to ensure it’s available when you need it. Libraries also make it easy to print for a nominal cost.
If you live near a college or university, you couldn’t ask for a better place to get work done. Provided it is a public campus that doesn’t require a student ID for common areas, most campuses offer a selection of locations from lobbies and food courts to workstations and libraries.
If you live near a private college or university, call to see if they offer guest passes for quiet areas on campus. This is also an excellent time to ask if they offer free or paid access WiFi.
What museums are local to you? By becoming a member, you’ll support your local arts or historical societies and have the privilege of a quiet and inspiring environment — usually with free WiFi. If your museum has a café, consider any freebies your membership entitles you to enjoy. Don’t forget to use your breaks to stroll around — what better way to get your gears turning?
If this idea intrigues you, but you’re looking for more fresh air, consider outdoor museums or botanical gardens as similar options.
Speaking of gardens, have you tried working remotely at a public park? Not every park offers WiFi, so you might need to invest in a hotspot or enable your mobile phone to function as one.
5. Heritage Sites
Heritage sites are another public access area that could offer you an interesting spot to work outside of your home office. While they can include parks, Heritage sites often include cultural buildings or centers that may make a pleasant environment for a remote worker. Seating and amenities will be varied, though, so check ahead.
6. Your House of Worship
Another option similar to cultural centers are nearby churches, parishes, and other houses of worship. While some may only be open to regular attendees or members during the week, more and more religious centers are offering free or low-cost weekday working spaces. If quiet (and coffee!) are your top needs for getting the job done, this may be an ideal location for you.
7. Coworking Spaces
A popular option for freelancers and entrepreneurs, coworking spaces are no longer only found in Silicon Valley. Most coworking spaces boast all the amenities of an office, such as conference rooms and printers. The caveat, of course, is the fee.
The upside? Perks like ultra-fast WiFi, private room rentals, refreshments, and gym or leisure options may be available. Make sure to consider the hours — some offer round-the-clock availability. For those interested just a few days a week, compare day rates versus monthly plans.
Hotels are an often overlooked spot for a comfortable place to work. Many hotels offer an ample, modern lobby space or a dedicated business center. In addition to WiFi and the occasional snack bar, a hotel could provide a professional backdrop for virtual meetings. If you have a local Hilton or Marriott, call to see if they have day-use rooms available.
A standard among remote workers, you don’t have to be from Seattle to know that coffee shops and cafés offer an easy local option for remote work. You’ll want to scout the location before settling in, checking for electrical outlets, WiFi availability, and overall vibe.
Quiet cafe environments are entirely possible, especially if they’re a regular spot for other remote workers. While cafés don't charge fees, make sure you purchase a new coffee or snack for each hour or two that you’re there. Be warned though — this could add up in money, calories, or caffeine.
It might seem antithetical for those looking for a place to concentrate on work, but your local brewery or craft bar might be a hidden gem. Best utilized during late mornings or early afternoons, your local microbrewery may offer a comfortable spot to enjoy a non-alcoholic beverage option — some roast coffee or brew root beers and ciders. Check to see if your local brewery has WiFi and ask what their quietest part of the day is.
You might be surprised if you haven’t visited your local mall lately. Plenty of malls offer large, modern lounge areas and food courts. Unlike a spot at a café, you likely won’t feel pressured to give up your table after a period of time.
Take a stroll through yours and note if there is mall-wide WiFi or if a café lounge area offers it.
12. Someone Else’s Home
Maybe the best free local option for you is just another person’s house? If it’s just the personal distractions or the repetition of your own four walls stalling your flow, consider swapping “at-home” coworking days with a friend. You’ll both benefit with fresh spaces, camaraderie, and perhaps some shared donuts.
Wherever You Go, We’re Here to Help
If you are looking to start freelancing, we encourage you to join our freelancer network. We can help you find your footing as a freelance worker, no matter where you are — from San Francisco to Miami.
And if you are already a freelancer, we are here to help you find your next exciting project. MVP Match offers its freelance members support in finding a healthy work-life balance.