Alternatives to the Home Office


There’s a slight irony about being a web worker and staying in your home office most of the time.

You have the ability and the technology to work wherever you want, and yet most of the time you’re sitting in your computer chair – probably rarely seeing the light of day. Sometimes, you might find yourself longing for a change in scenery. And why not? A new environment can boost your creativity, give you a fresh perspective, or it might just be the thing to get an old project moving again.

If you need to get out of your usual workspace, here are some alternatives:

Coffee shops. This seems to be a common, obvious choice – mostly because several coffee houses offer free Wi-Fi. The coffee house is the perfect place to work if you want to engage in some conversation once in a while or simply listen to the ambient noise of people talking.

The downside of working in a coffee shop is that it might get too noisy if you’re there during peak hours. Also, it might require enormous willpower to work in the coffee shop without spending your hard earned dollars on drinks and pastries.

Local library. The local library is a quieter alternative to the coffee shop, making it a great option for those who want to escape noisy housemates or neighbors. If you’re a bibliophile, this is probably your equivalent of working in heaven.

Libraries can come in handy when your creativity is blocked. Sometimes, leafing through a random book from the shelves can give you great ideas.

Gardens. When you’re in front of a computer for the most part of your working day, you might eventually crave for a more natural environment. Looking at a well-kept garden can give your eyes a refreshing view when your laptop screen starts giving you eyestrain. Just don’t forget to bring insect repellent, as the average garden has a variety of resident insects.

Also, if you’re taking your laptop with you, be sure to sit in the shade. Your LCD screen might not have good visibility near direct sunlight.

Coworking spaces. These are shared office spaces used by other web workers. Coworking spaces have been featured in the media, and many local options are cropping up. If working alone is one of the things that drew you to web working in the first place, this might not be the option for you. But if you want to work around like-minded individuals, coworking might be a good option for you.

Long term traveling. This is for the extremists out there. These people are nomads, traveling for months at a time while working. It’s no coincidence that the more famous web working travelers are also travel writers (such as Jeff Greenwald, who is often dubbed as the first blogger, and Rolf Potts). Compared to the other options, long term traveling requires the most planning, effort, and money. However, web workers who are stuck by incurable wanderlust might find it too appealing to pass up.

Find another room. Sometimes, you only need to walk a few feet away to find a new working area. Try working in the bedroom, the kitchen, or the living room. Sometimes, the smallest change can make a world of difference.

When selecting an alternative work environment, consider what you need in order to work at peak efficiency. Do you prefer to work in absolute silence? Are you comfortable working around other people? What surroundings make you feel more creative? Answering these questions helps you select a new workspace when you want a break from your routine at the home office.

Photo Credit: Image by Steve Woods



This reminds me of an article I wrote called 5 Alternatives to the dull office life. It offers similar tips and also some more permanent solutions to get out of a conventional work space. (link on my name)


This is a great article, and as a telecommuting worker, I would love to see more articles like this.


I run a small digital content/copywriting agency with two co-directors. We work from our respective homes a lot but often need communal spaces in the week in which to work. Our solution has been to join private members’ clubs in central London (including Soho House, Century and The Hospital). Annual subscription is anything between £200-700UKP per annum, so we’ve each joined a different one, enabling us to meet up at three different spaces (you can usually sign in two or three guests). They all have wi-fi, are centrally located, have good food and drink on tap, boast a mix of social and working spaces and are usually abuzz with other creative people (good networking opportunities). Compared to the cost of a fully serviced office – which we’d only work in occasionally – it’s a steal.


I have found that the environment that one works in is just as important as the tools that are used. If I really need to focus and write a meaty essay, I will take a corner table at the library. If I am am feeling a bit more creative (or want to show off my laptop), I will go to a coffee shop. A change in scenery is a good thing, and although the same usual workspace may work for some, it makes my output rather stagnant.

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