One thing you’ll quickly learn when joining clovio is that as great as it is to be flexible about when and where you work, remote working is not without its own unique drawbacks. Most notable is how you might feel confined to your home, whiling away the hours at the kitchen table or in your tiny space reserved as an ad hoc office; you’ll go crazy looking at the same four walls for the whole day. Or worse, you may find distractions from your family or room mates to be more infuriating than if you were just working in an office.
That’s why you see so many remote workers setting up camp in various coffee shops of the city, because often just heading outside, seeing other human beings, and getting a caffeine kick from the good stuff is all you need to reclaim your focus.
How to Pick a Coffee Shop
Most of us here at clovio have a very regular search term: “Places to work near me”. There are apps like Workfrom that help with this, and countless websites for this exact phrase covering the most populated cities in the world… but nothing beats good old-fashioned detective skills.
Whenever you’re in a cafe, ask yourself some important questions that will help you to know if the location is a good place to work from:
- Is it spacious so as to avoid the inevitable guilt of taking a table for a few hours?
- Is there good access to power sockets?
- Do they have Wi-Fi?
- Does it have a relaxed atmosphere, pleasant decoration, and a lot of natural light?
- Most importantly, how’s the coffee?
Once you have your pick of places, there’s more to it than just turning up and slopping down into a seat. First, you’ll need a laptop that is a decent size to fit on a coffee shop table; these aren’t always the most spacious, so anything bigger and bulkier than 15” might be cumbersome.
But regardless, you have to factor in the idea that internet access may not be consistent and the available power sockets may be limited. Set off to a cafe with any offline work pre-prepared just in case, while a full battery charge – or a portable charger – will keep you from dashing home in a panic.
Beating the Distractions
Since there are going to be people coming and going, there is almost certainly a degree of distractions to endure when working remotely in a cafe. Some people prefer that bustle since it acts as a sort of white noise that helps focus the mind.
Sitting away from the baristas will help – that burst of steam or growl of the coffee grinder will not be conducive to working effectively – but it’s especially useful to have a plan of the work that you’ll want to do beforehand, a list of tasks, and ideally a schedule of how long they should take. This will force you to concentrate, even with the many sights and sounds around you.
Staying Safe, Online and Off
When you’re working remotely, you’re also working digitally. While you might not feel insecure sat in the corner of a tranquil cafe sipping your coffee, it’s important to remember the certain threats to your online security. Public Wi-Fi, for example, is a major risk without a VPN, which will obfuscate your connection to ensure no-one can spy on your online activity.
This will defend your digital self, but it’s also wise to try and protect yourself physically from the potential threat of shoulder surfing. Try to sit in a place where your work won’t be open for all to see – especially if it’s sensitive information – and whatever you do don’t enter your passwords into critical accounts like online banking. For this, a password manager is a huge boon.
…and What About Music?
There’s scientific proof that music helps with concentration, at least so long as it’s the right kind of music. But this is especially handy when you’re at a coffee shop and really need to get on with the task at hand; plugging in those earphones will drown out the idle conversations of other guests, the sudden noise of the espresso machine, or the sound of the door regularly swinging open. That way you’ll get the benefit of working away from home, without the added frustrations.