Beyond Cafes and Libraries: Where to Work Remotely

With the rise of more and more people who work remotely—otherwise known as “open-collar workers”—comes the need to revolutionize the traditional workspace and the boundary between work and home. Remote working is not just a perk but a norm for several businesses and organizations. The Covid-19 pandemic made the remote working trend reach its historical peak in 2020 and 2021. This interest in working in a flexible arrangement is not going to decline in 2022 as well.

While this was something that had to be forcefully adapted to under severe conditions, it is turning out to be a choice for several individuals. According to a new survey by McKinsey & Company, fifty-eight percent of employed respondents (equivalent to 92 million people) report having the option to work from home for all or part of the week.

Additionally, according to, seventeen percent of US employees worked from home for 5 or more days a week before the pandemic, a share that increased to 44 percent during the pandemic. Essentially, the U.S. workforce is increasingly becoming remote, meaning the work-from-home culture is on the rise, and with it, a whole new set of data to monitor and explore the advantages and disadvantages of telecommuting.

According to a Global Workplace Analytics study conducted in June 2021, some of the benefits for both the remote employer and employee include saving a business about $11,000 per person annually, while remote workers might save between $600 to $6,000 a year. These savings are generally due to reduced costs of traveling, food, and parking. More importantly, telecommuting also means the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to the Earth’s ozone layer, not to mention rush-hour traffic becoming a thing of the past.

At first, working from home can afford the possibility of having a flexible schedule. There is also the assumption that remote work is ideal for those with childcare responsibilities, or even frequent travelers, who can work on the go. Actually, according to Global Workplace Analytics, the average non-traditional worker is just as likely to be male or female, and is typically 45 or older with a college education; may or may not have children, and earns about $58,000 annually. And while those who haven’t had the opportunity to telecommute might consider all the benefits of telecommuting to outweigh working on-site, today’s wired workers also deal with the pitfalls that come from constantly being connected—especially when it comes to work-life balance.

Due to the technological revolution’s promotion of constant connectivity, remote workers are more likely to work overtime. Wired workers are taking less and less time off since some were reported to work while even on vacation or on sick leave. While employers benefit from productive remote employees, for some telecommuters, the blurred boundary between home and office reduces normal working hours. In other words, the world of telecommuting creates a nebulous line between home and work—when office hours begin and end—which may add to work-family conflicts and encourage employers to increase work expectations.

While home offices, cafes, and public libraries are the most common go-to spots for remote workers, this guide explores some other less obvious workspaces. Those in the virtual or telecommuting industry have the ability to work on the go, which also means being creative with and breaking free from their home office, the overcrowded café, and silent libraries. And based on the findings above, the average telecommuter may require re-balancing their work-life hours, while taking advantage of their mobility.

For telecommuters who need to breathe new life into their home and work life, or for those who need a break from the home office, café, and library scenes, read on to learn where to begin setting up better work and off-time boundaries.

The Ultimate Resource for Non-traditional Workers

In addition to breaking free from the standard remote atmosphere, the list below may also be helpful for those who don’t have productive home offices and must seek out other wifi-connected places to work. Keep in mind: the list below is just a starting point for telecommuters to revamp their work week and may help distinguish between home and work. Remember, the world is filled with spaces that can be the next best “office.”

Work From Universities and Community Colleges

To change things up from a regular WFH routine, the buzzing, whirling academic energy around a college campus can enhance any workflow. Working at a college campus can also be a diverse place to spend a full day since there is generally regular public transportation, ample space, and various facilities and landscapes to choose from.

Although the wifi might require a student or faculty account, there is usually guest access for the public and plenty of quiet spaces to make a phone call. Another benefit of taking up an office for a day on campus is that the student center or food court may have a wide selection of restaurants and cafés for breakfast and lunch breaks.

Work From Public Parks, Beaches, Plazas, and Open Spaces

More and more public spaces are becoming wired, or one can also create a personal hotspot on a smartphone and find the perfect bench or table to work at. For those who enjoy working outdoors, the dream of working at the beach can come true.

In addition, many U.S. cities also provide free wifi in public spaces, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York. While working at the park or beach might be season- and weather-dependent, this non-traditional office might be the perfect place for people-watching and getting a dose of sun and fresh air, providing a break from the home office and busy café, or too-quiet library.

Work From Hotel Lobbies

An often-overlooked place to work for the day is at a local hotel lobby. While hotels usually provide secure wifi and a business center for guests, some hotels may have public networks within the lobby. In addition, those hotels with a business center may include printing services and a quiet place to take a phone call. Some also might have a restaurant or bar inside for a convenient place for a break or after-work drink.

Work From Museums and Art Galleries

By far the most creative space for open-collar workers is within a museum. Surrounded by inspiring spaces to work, one can also stay up to date with the latest and current trends in art. In addition, art galleries may also provide one with a cultural and artistic education while on the job. Being in a museum for prolonged periods of time can enhance emotional well-being and cognitive function—helpful for everyone, especially while working. In fact, a study published in the Journal of Positive Psychology explains how consuming art in a museum can help the visitor reduce stress, combat loneliness, and make life feel more meaningful.

Work From Bars and Breweries

For a more relaxed, fun indoor or outdoor atmosphere, working from a local brewpub can be the best place to generate ideas. Most bars and pubs also serve food, desserts, and non-alcoholic drinks, and for those who work at a bar until the end of the workday, it’s easy to celebrate some much-needed time off with a drink or dessert. Although the bar scene is generally not the best work environment for everyone, some telecommuters thrive in the lively bar office.

Work From Coworking Spaces

Co-operative workspaces are popping up throughout the U.S., including in smaller cities. Although some may require a fee to join a community of other freelancers, the beauty of coworking spaces is the opportunity to have a working community to network with. Coworking spaces usually provide high-speed, secure wifi; comfortable work desks; and other member perks. These spaces are ideal for local professionals itching to collaborate, rent conference room space, and business travelers.

Work From Airports

Even for those who don’t have a plane to catch, airports—even waiting areas before security checkpoints—generally have secure and reliable wifi. Airports are another high-energy space to spend some work time, watching planes and passengers flow in and out of town. There is also no obligation to purchase anything and there are usually comfortable seats to sit and answer emails.

Work From Someone Else’s House

This can be an ideal choice for someone who wishes to work from home without getting distracted by their household chores. Getting together with friends or colleagues at someone’s house and ordering food online can make working from home fun. The remote can also consider setting a home office rotation schedule with other remote working friends to keep things lively and fresh.

Work From an Airbnb

Someone who wishes to tie their work in with travel can consider finding a workspace-friendly Airbnb. An ideal choice for those who wish to travel and work from the hills or with a beautiful sea view. Now that several places have relaxed travel restrictions, a remote worker can book an Airbnb in another city or in their own city just to take a relaxing break from the same desk at home.

Work From Desk Rentals

Remote workers who find coworking spaces out of their price range might want to go with this option. This option is usually taken when someone needs to work somewhere else for a day or two. Maybe their internet is down, there’s some construction on their street, or they’ve been procrastinating and a deadline is approaching rapidly. Apart from being less expensive, this option also provides all of the amenities a coworking space offers.

Those interested in desk rentals can check out sites like Deskcamping, Desks Near Me, ShareDesk, or Peerspace. One could also talk to local businesses and see if they are willing to rent out an unused desk.

Where to Access Free Wifi Anytime

For those who may need to send a quick email (and when a personal hotspot is not available), most of the nation’s top retail businesses will more than likely provide free wifi. These businesses include:

  1. Starbucks
  2. Peet’s Coffee and Tea
  3. McDonald’s
  4. Whole Foods Market
  5. Ikea
  6. Jack in the Box
  7. Walmart
  8. Target
  9. Costco
  10. Panera Bread Company
  11. Subway
  12. Sonic
  13. Burger King
  14. Apple Stores
  15. Barnes & Noble
  16. Dunkin’ Donuts
April Joseph
April Joseph

April Joseph is a poet from East L.A., California, who creates mixed media performance art by joining movement and music to mourning songs. April earned her MFA in Writing and Poetics from Naropa University, and her BA in Literatures of the World from UCSD. Explore more of her writing fragments and poetics on Bodyful Space.

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