Are you trying to get work done away from the office? Whether you’re a full-time digital nomad or you’re traveling for a meeting and need to pull together some reports, the challenges are the same. Working on the road means dealing with distractions, poor connectivity, and a lack of tools at your fingertips. Here are some solutions to get you working again.
Image via Flickr by MorseInteractive
Coffee shops are the classic work environment for students, freelancers, and entrepreneurs on the go. The perfect coffee shop will offer comfortable seating, a solid Wi-Fi connection, nice background music, and a quiet environment free of distractions, where you will be surrounded by other people who are engrossed in their work. Of course, not every coffee shop is perfect, and you may instead find yourself in a shop with loud music, poor Wi-Fi, and intrusive conversation. In most cities, there are plenty of cafes with Wi-Fi to choose from, and online reviews can help you find the one you’re looking for.
Business travelers often overlook public libraries, but libraries can offer the perfect environment for productivity. Ergonomic workstations, fast internet connections, access to printing equipment, and plenty of peace and quiet make libraries a great place to get work done. In large cities, you’ll find libraries with coffee shops, outdoor lounging areas, and other amenities; in smaller cities, the library will be more basic. Either way, libraries offer a great place to work.
Coffee shops and libraries offer a quiet space to research, write, or build reports, but they’re not conducive to making phone calls or attending Skype meetings. Coworking spaces will let you rent a workstation, a private office space, or a conference room by the hour, day, or week. In residential areas, these spaces are often rented out by the month to regular clients, but near hotels and airports, you can find coworking space by the hour. At the minimum, your temporary workplace will include access to fresh coffee, printers, telephones, and an ergonomic workspace. If you need to make calls or attend virtual meetings, ask to rent a private office for the day.
Hotels With Business Amenities
Hotels have traditionally offered on-site business facilities with computers, workstations, and telephones. Today most travelers carry their own computer and phone and prefer a room with a desk and a solid internet connection where they can work in privacy and peace. Most hotel booking sites will let you screen for amenities like an in-room desk and access to printing equipment. If you travel often, you should make screening for the amenities you need and confirming them by e-mail as much a part of your routine as buying travel insurance online or remembering your passport. Then you’ll always have a decent workspace.
Long-term travelers might prefer an apartment to a hotel room. An apartment offers more privacy and a kitchen. Cooking instead of eating out for every meal appeals to travelers who are health-conscious, as well as those who are on a tight budget. Airbnb has always let renters screen for Wi-Fi access, but now the site is offering a filter for “laptop friendly workspace” as well. It’s a good idea to message the host before you commit to a rental and confirm the features that are important to you, such as fast Wi-Fi or an ergonomic office chair. Ask about discounts for stays of a week or more.
If you’re spending a lot of time in airports, access to an airport lounge is worth fighting for. A lounge offers comfortable seating, free Wi-Fi, and an oasis of peace and quiet in a busy airport. There are several ways to get access to a lounge: You can buy a day pass, invest in a membership, use your frequent flyer or credit card perks, or pay for access to a public lounge.
Working on the road is a challenge. Uncomfortable seating, noise and distractions, and erratic internet connections are all barriers to productivity. But if you identify the kind of workspace that suits you best and make finding it part of your travel routine, you might find that you look forward to working on the road.