Out Of Office: The 6 Best Locations For Working Remotely

by Benjamin Brandall

 

You need a break. It’s okay to say that; you’ve been working damned hard and your usual workplace is starting to gain a horribly oppressive feeling. Still, if you want to take time off at Christmas you just can’t afford to book another week off.

What to do? Do you take a week-long sick leave? Not advisable. Do you get someone to cover you? That doesn’t solve the problem of not taking a week off. You need to work and work means being in the office.

… Or does it?

Despite skeptics, remote working is very much here to stay, and thanks to the wide availability of wifi, the only thing stopping you from grabbing a weekend train to Bruges is your own apprehensions; only last week was I carrying out our employee onboarding process for a new writer whilst in a luxury hotel in a picturesque area of Latvia!

With the right mindset, tools and knowledge you can absolutely work whilst you take a break from the usual office environment, and here are the 6 best places to do so from.

Libraries

The old classic; there’s nothing quite like sitting down in one of the quietest buildings on Earth to get into the zone and pound through your daily tasks. Whether you’re sitting down in the library of a university campus in Canterbury or one whose roof contains a giant hammock in Burundi, the calm and quiet of libraries is a fantastic boon to any remote worker.

Whilst it is true for many (including myself) that working in complete silence does not help, libraries usually contain just the right level of ambient noise to keep your brain ticking without becoming stagnant. Plus, if you’re someone who prefers music or, hell, even hours upon hours of whale noises whilst you work, you can always whip out the ever-trusty headphones and lose yourself amongst the stack upon stack of books.

The Vennesla Library, Norway

The Vennesla Library, Norway

It also helps to be surrounded by other people working; although I wouldn’t have admitted it when starting to work remotely, office environments have the advantage of being just that - a communal work environment. This, much like being in a library of others studying books or other resources, can really help you settle down for the long haul and get straight into the right head space to work like a freight train.

Cafes

Ah, coffee, where would the modern worker be without you? Not only do cafes provide easy access to the lifeblood of so many remote workers, but they can also serve as fantastic locations to work in by their own merits!

Philz Coffee, San Francisco — in keeping with everything else in SF, this cafe is VC-backed.

Philz Coffee, San Francisco — in keeping with everything else in SF, this cafe is VC-backed.

First, consider availability. You’ll likely not always have access to a library in your travels, but cafes are everywhere, and the vast majority of them are going to have an internet connection; libraries are a little hit and miss with free available wifi.

Couple this with the fact that cafes will often have next to the perfect level of ambient noise to keep you in the zone. Again, it’s not the same for everyone, but the quiet chatter of customers and the occasional car driving by serves as the perfect backdrop to keep many a remote worker’s brain from stagnating in silence.

Home

Some prefer the comfort of home when taking a holiday rather than travelling to a land unknown, which is perfectly understandable. Whether you’re primarily a remote worker or not, chances are at some point or another you’re going to find yourself working from home. You could be catching up on a heavy workload in the evening after coming back from the office or have your office set up in your house; either way, working from home can serve as the perfect medium to balance your professional and personal life.

Your home office? A bookcase, a desk, a laptop and a view.

Your home office? A bookcase, a desk, a laptop and a view.

Working from home comes with a few caveats, however. First, many (myself included) find it beneficial to set up an area which is entirely devoted to work. It could be an entire room which you deck out as an office or just a particular desk in the living room which you don’t use for anything else, but having this devoted space provides a mental separation from work and play. If you sit down at the desk which you only use to work, you can almost trick yourself to remain focused and prevent distractions.

Not to mention the fact that this makes it much easier to spend time with your family or partner before work. All you need to do is roll out of bed, start up your daily routine and spend an hour with the rest of the house over breakfast before sitting down to work; after all, whoever said that work had to take time away from interacting with the people you love and who keep you going?

Hotels

No matter what adventure you’re on, chances are that your hotel or accommodation will have some sort of internet connection available upon request. Much like working from home, I would recommend finding a particular space which you can dedicate to work rather than pulling your laptop onto your bed and trying to power through; the disconnect truly benefits a healthy mind.

Kakslauttanen Hotel, Saariselkä, Finland — watch the Northern Lights while you work.

Kakslauttanen Hotel, Saariselkä, Finland — watch the Northern Lights while you work.

Plus, when working from your hotel you can easily take a break and pop to a nearby swimming pool or gym for a half-hour unwind. Personally, I’ve found one of the best methods to breaking through a mental block is to go away for 30 minutes and do something else; whether you’re running, hitting the weights, swimming or just relaxing on a sun lounger, a break will help any taxed mind.

Hotel working (obviously) also frees up your location. Rather than being stuck in the same office or cafe every day for months on end you can more than happily move location every weekend, taking remote meetings in Thailand one week and Italy the next - the world is truly your oyster!

Whether you’re Interrailing through Europe or hanging out (I’m so sorry) in a stunning treetop hotel located within a refurbished Boeing 727, working from your hotel is almost never a bad idea.

Trains

Along the same lines as working from your hotel after travelling, you can quite happily work whilst you’re journeying! Trains are a little more hit and miss with internet connection, but that shouldn’t stop you from doing anything you can which doesn’t require a connection when not available.

The Trans-Siberian Express — how much work could you get done on a 5,623 mile journey from Russia to China?

The Trans-Siberian Express — how much work could you get done on a 5,623 mile journey from Russia to China?

Think about it, would you rather take a half hour train ride to work (or your next hotel), only to have to add that time onto your day, or work on the train and clock off at your usual time (or even earlier)? I thought so.

Airports

“Ben,” I hear you cry, “I’m flying to my dream destinations rather than taking a train; what can I do?”. Well, if you hadn’t already guessed from the sub-heading, chances are that you can work from the airport on either end whilst you wait, or even on the plane itself.

Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport

Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport

Whilst many airports have wifi hotspots, whilst you’re on the plane you’ll probably have to consider going offline and working on whatever you can without the aid of the worldwide web. Still, why add time to your work day when you’re probably going to end up waiting at least an hour for your flight anyway?

That’s all well and good, but what about expenses? Surely all of this traveling and working could make it a nightmare when it comes to sorting out taxes, having to separate your work travels from personal journeys? Well, apps such as GateGuru can help you to both see delayed flights and log your travel time, allowing you to easily collate your miles for tax purposes. No problem!

What’s stopping you from traveling the world whilst you work? Frankly, very little (other than positions which absolutely require your physical presence). All you need to do is seek out the perfect places to work remotely and you’ll be quite literally flying in no time.


Benjamin Brandall is a writer at Process Street, covering tech, startups, productivity and processes. He also appears on TechCrunch, The Next Web and his personal blog. You can follow him on twitter @benjbrandall