It’s awesome, don’t get me wrong. I absolutely love having control over what I do every day, blocking my schedule, and having more flexibility to attend school functions during the day. The downside?
It’s so freaking lonely.
I’m not kidding when I say that staring at the same computer screen and the same walls all day, every day, without another adult to talk to is enough to drive my anxiety through the roof. After just a couple of months of being a full-time work at home mom, I realized how much I missed having co-workers to gab with and some change in scenery throughout the day.
So, I started getting creative. My town is small, with a population of about 12,000 and not a whole lot of stuff to do. I don’t live in a large enough area to warrant having a co-working space nearby because there aren’t many remote workers here. I had to do some digging to find the best spots with Wi-Fi where I could take my laptop once in a while for a much-needed change.
Get Out of the House! 8 Spots for Work at Home Moms to Work Outside the Home
Personally, I work elsewhere at least two times each week when my kids are in school (although some of these options are even kid-friendly!). It keeps me feeling like an adult, and that I’m not stuck in a tiny little work at home bubble. Going somewhere other than my home office is refreshing, to say the least.
Need a breath of fresh air? Try these spots and work outside the home office!
1. The Library
This is my absolute favorite spot to work, but remember, I don’t have a co-working space nearby (I’m sure that would take first prize). The library is not only quiet and calming, but it also has incredible natural light that makes me feel energized and ready to roll.
The seating is comfortable, the temperature is perfect, and there are spots to plug in my laptop if the battery gets low. Most libraries offer free Wi-Fi, but you may need the password from the librarian. Oh – and did I mention you’re surrounded by books? What more could you want in a work space?
2. Co-Working Space
If I had my choice, I’d live in an area with co-working spaces. I’d gladly fork over $100 or so every month to join and work there one or two times each week.
Co-working spaces allow remote workers to come together in a fun, social environment. Studies have shown that productivity increases in co-working spaces, mostly because they have a community feel that people crave. We’re social animals. We need people around (yes, even me, a self-proclaimed introvert!).
These spots usually come with exclusive perks, too, like fitness equipment, free coffee and snacks, and relaxing lounge areas inside and out.
3. A Bookstore
Do you have a Barnes & Noble or another bookstore nearby? Go there to work. If you love books as much as I do, the smell alone will be a draw. Large bookstores usually have a cafe inside where you can grab a cup of coffee, hop on the free Wi-Fi, and work away.
4. A Coffee Shop
Or, go to a coffee shop! There will be all the cappuccinos and iced frappes you could want in a cozy environment with other adults around. Hallelujah!
Word of advice: Skip the super busy periods, like the early morning rush (usually, between 8 am and 10 am) on weekdays, or you’ll likely get distracted people-watching (or is that just me?).
5. A Restaurant or Diner
Scope out the restaurants in your area to see which ones have free Wi-Fi. If you can’t find the information on the website, you can call and ask if it’s okay to come and do some work here and there. In most cases, you’ll need to buy something, but as long as the restaurant isn’t busy and in need of your table, you should be able to stay for a good chunk of time.
Most fast food restaurants are also starting to offer free Wi-Fi! I sometimes visit McDonalds, grab an iced mocha, and set up my laptop. One nearby McDonalds has a seating area meant just for laptop users, complete with outlets to charge them with.
Again, I stay far away from busy morning, lunch, and dinner times. The sweet spot for me is between 8 am and 11 am.
6. A Hotel Lobby
Stick with me here. I know it sounds weird, but many hotels won’t bat an eye if you sit down in their lobby and start working, even if you don’t have a room there. Most hotels offer free Wi-Fi in their rooms and lobby and lobbies are usually very calming.
Better yet – look for one with a business center, which is made just for people like you who need to work.
7. The Gym
Are you visiting the gym for a workout? Take your laptop along and get some work done before or after your fitness routine!
Several gyms have started offering free Wi-Fi so people can hook up to fitness apps and the like without eating up their data. You might as well take advantage of it, especially if your gym has a cozy lounge area.
8. Your Porch
If you absolutely can’t get out of the house to work (because, kids), then at least try to get outside. Moving your work onto the porch still lets you get access to your home’s Wi-Fi (if you can’t reach, try a wireless extender. I use this signal booster from Victony), watch the kids, and get fresh air.
Heading outdoors can do incredible things for your mental health, including reducing stress and improving cognition.
The Best Places to Work Remotely
Getting out of the home office and into new territory – even if it’s only for a few hours a week – can give your brain the refresher it needs to stay focused and remain sane. When you work at home, you should never underestimate the power of social interaction and new environments.
Have you brought your work somewhere else? I’d love to hear other ideas you have for the best places to work from home that AREN’T at home! Leave me a comment below 🙂
Amy is a mom of two, freelance writer, and blog manager who works with family-focused businesses to improve their content strategies. You can find her published work on Reader’s Digest Online, MSN, Niche, Frugal For Less, and other lifestyle publications.