Today I’m sharing 5 awesomely productive places to work that are not your home or a coffee shop – because we all know both of these environments can get a little stale after a while. Read on if you’re looking for a change of scenery and a new place of work to add to your options to keep those creative juices flowing!
Anyone else get that sluggish, stale and demotivated mood creep in when working from home a lot? I often end up getting cabin fever, craving fresh air and inspiration. Normally by this stage I’m also grazing on whatever’s in the house (usually chunks of cheese and chorizo…) leaving me feeling sluggish AND unhealthy. It ends up a bit… meh. I don’t feel energised to create new work and therefore I end up not achieving as much as I would have liked that day.
The coffee shop dilemma
I often go to coffee shops to try and counteract this mood and get some work done, but who else has the socially awkward problem of not knowing what to do when you’ve finished your coffee and you’re bursting for the toilet?
Usually I overthink the entire scenario in my head…
“Do I risk leaving my laptop out on the table? It’s really busy in here… what if it gets stolen? Do I pack everything up and risk losing my table? I got here early for this table! Do I approach the serious looking businessmen in an obviously important meeting and ask them to watch my laptop while I go pee? What do I do?!”
I realised whilst a coffee shop is great for an early morning boost to check your emails, wait for a meeting or a train etc, it’s not great for longer durations. I ain’t got the budget for one thing! And after a while, even your favourite spots can get a little stale.
A few hours can make all the difference
Sometimes just working in a different environment for half a day can be just the ticket to feeling awake again. I often find getting out to work somewhere in the early morning does best for me. Even if I end up working from home again in the afternoon, I often come back recharged and refreshed!
So here are 5 other places I go to work when I want to feel inspired and get a change of scenery.
1. Get Outside : go to a local park or garden
When it’s time to put a new collection together I can spend a fair amount of time outside with my camera. Naturally this fills me with fresh air and inspiration. However even for normal business tasks working outside can be such a relaxing yet energising experience.
Now I wouldn’t work outside for editing photos as the glare on the screen is just no good and if it’s hot you don’t want your laptop overheating, but how about if you’ve set yourself some time to read up on business improvement? Take your book or tablet outside!
Or if you’re a creative perhaps you’ve got some designs and sketches to draw up?
What about a brainstorming session where you can just go and sit somewhere beautiful and brain-dump your ideas?
The fresh air can be so inviting and a beautiful park or garden can be just the ticket to feel those creative juices flowing.
2. Be With Books : visit your local library
I often go to work in the library in Manchester City Centre. It’s big, there’s loads of places to find a spot to work without distraction, and it’s free. Plus I can bring my lunch and a flask of coffee and stay as long as I need. And I’m surrounded by books!
It doesn’t matter if you’ve got a small or massive library near you. If you get there early enough you’re sure to find a nice spot to settle down in and get to work. Plus you’ve got all that knowledge at your fingertips!
Still find I struggle with that toilet situation though….
3. Buddy Up : work at a friends or relatives house
Just because your house feels a little stale doesn’t mean your buddies will! Obviously it helps if your relative or friend is also a solopreneur so you can alternate where you work. That way neither of you get that sluggish state, but you still feel the benefits of home-working. Plus you’ve got all the toilet breaks you need….
Not to mention it’s great for bouncing ideas around – even if you’re not in the same industry! I often head back to work at my parents and it’s great for getting their opinions, ideas and suggestions. Some of which I’d never have thought of!
Plus my mum makes a mean lasagne.
4. Hit the Bar : go to a public house or bar
I get that not every pub or bar will work. But if there’s a venue near you that’s open in the day, you may find it’s a quiet place to work. Near my house is a large, beautiful public house that doubles as a restaurant. It’s open quite early and often really quiet in the mornings.
I find it so peaceful and relaxed in there. And I feel perfectly comfortable to work away whilst the friendly staff bring me lovely flat whites. They also do a Baileys Latte… (not that this influences my decision AT ALL).
Obviously I don’t mean rocking up at 10am at your local nightclub asking for their WIFI password and a brew.
5. Free Spaces : utilise purpose designed working spaces
I cannot afford my own rented office and it doesn’t really suit my business model to have one. However I do feel the benefit of working in a purpose designed business environment. I use a few different services of which I’ve given a brief overview below. They’re mainly for UK based entrepreneurs, but it’s worth checking wherever you’re based to see if there’s a similar thing in your area!
In Manchester we’ve got Ziferblat, which is a pay-per-minute work-based lounge area with lots of tables, sofas and even some meeting rooms. Food and drink are free and you can build up a free hour with their loyalty card.
They’re quite big now with venues in the UK and Europe so it’s worth checking to see if there’s one in your area. Whilst I can’t afford to do this everyday (those minutes add up!) it’s great for a relaxing space. And often you’re with other creatives working on their business which can be rather inspiring 🙂
Google Digital Garage
This is a fairly new one to me – the Google Digital Garage opened up a venue in Manchester as a free resource centre for entrepreneurs, with courses and 1:1 help as well as a small working area. It’s a great place to pop in and ask the online aspect of my business as it’s run by creative entrepreneurs on behalf of Google.
Last time I checked they have a few locations in the UK, so it’s worth checking to see if there’s one in or near your area.
Virgin Money Lounge
Now this one is really sweet. If you’re based in the UK and have any money based Virgin product you qualify to register as member for their Virgin Money Lounges. They’ve got them all over the UK and your pass gets you into any.
Membership is free, as is access to the lounge. There’s free tea, coffee, fruit and biscuits as well as desk areas, sofas and meeting rooms. Not to mention it’s a very relaxed, peaceful environment to work undisturbed for hours.
And there you have it! My 5 other places I go to work besides a coffee shop.
Have you got anywhere you love to work? Share it in the comments!