working in the park
PHOTO: Tanel Teemusk

The right environment (not to mention discipline) is a requirement to successfully work remotely: a quiet space that serves as an office, away from family distractions and equipped with a desk space. If you don’t have a home environment that allows for this, it doesn’t mean you can’t succeed as a remote employee or contractor.

Work From Home Alternatives

Small business rental space: If you simply need a desk and an internet connection, try contacting a local small business. They may have unused space that can be leased for a small fee, like in the TV series “Better Call Saul,” where Saul Goodman rented a small space in the back of a beauty parlor.

Coffee shops: Your local coffee shop can be a great place for a few hours of work with handy beverages and snacks at the ready. Most Starbucks locations in smaller cities have no problem with patrons sitting for consecutive hours with the occasional purchase. Avoid the morning rush and you will find yourself among other patrons who are busy working on their laptops. I must confess doing this myself even though I primarily work from home — I find the change of scenery and background noise helpful for creative thinking and focused writing.

Friend or family homes: You might have a friend or family member whose house is vacant during the day. Using a spare bedroom or dining room table provides you with the space you need and gives the homeowner some added security having someone there keeping an eye on the house who can also bring their Amazon deliveries inside when they arrive so they don't get stolen.

At the beach or park: If the sun isn’t too hot — bad news for your smartphone and laptop — find some shade or use one of those cool devices that shades your laptop. And don't forget the sunscreen!

Local library: As long as you don’t need to make phone calls, your local library can be a consideration for a few hours of quiet time.

Coworking space: If cost isn't a factor, you might consider a company such as WeWork, which designs and builds physical and virtual shared workspaces. You can also rent space where you buy office supplies now because Office Depot has gotten into the coworking space act — the one near me has refreshments. Many major cities offer similar services with fewer perks. These types of coworking spaces can also provide meeting rooms and access to office facilities such as printing services and food options. I find these places to be on the expensive side, but if your line of work requires meeting clients in a professional setting this could be a viable option.

Related Article: Identifying the Missing Link in Remote Work Strategies

Alternative Workspace Caveat

All these alternative locations come with a caveat: If you are a full-time employee, make sure your IT department is aware of company logins from these kinds of locations. Some IT departments use VPNs that have tight restrictions and you may need to alert them of the different networks that are being used to access internal websites and systems so they can make allowances.