Friday, August 14, 2009

How-To Pick a Place to Work From

While I wouldn't say I'm a freelancing expert, in the last several years I have become an expert at picking places to work from. Of course may freelancers have a home office that they created and are disciplined enough to work out of there year-round. I created an attic office but it's way too hot to work from in the summer months which has forced me to weigh my other options.

Here's what you need to consider when picking a place to write and file from:

  • Internet availability. Any place that makes you pay for the 'privelege' is just silly today. Not sure the free hotspots in your area? Google it. Many cities have listings of the best WiFi spots. And of course Panera, Kaldi's, Barnes&Noble, McDonalds all offer free WiFi. Also increasingly outdoor parks have access. Bryant Park in New York used to be a favorite of mine.
  • A generous amount of outlets. If you are working from the same place all day you are going to need to plug your computer in. (Unless you have a stellar, long-lasting battery.) Scope out the place to see how many outlets there are. This will vary from location to location.
  • Atmosphere. Is the place conducive to working? The McDonalds play area during the lunchtime rush is not going to help you pen that article.
  • Sales associates. This is crucial. Are the employees welcoming and yet able to give you your space? For example: I stopped going to one location a couple months ago after one of the employees began thinking it was her job to talk to me at least 30 minutes each day I set up shop there. She was sweet, but that didn't help my work get done.
  • Smell. Weird, right? Well some places smell pretty bad - or worse you smell bad after you've been there a long time. If you are going for an all-day spot try to stay away from places that have food fryers as that grease just infiltrates the air and as a result your pores, clothing, hair, etc...
  • Surrounding area. Since you'll likely need to get up, stretch your legs, order some food, visit the bathroom, it's important to trust the part of town you're working in - at least this is important if you don't feel like packing and unpacking your things everytime you need to get up and move around a little.
  • Parking. Some places make it very easy to park and stay all day. Other places you may need to pay a meter, which is fine for a short stay but running out with quarters every two hours can become a little overwhelming especially when the ideas are really flowing.

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