As a freelancer, I spend most of my time in-front of my desktop that sits in the living room of our apartment.
However, as many home-based workers will tell you, working from the same spot every day can become a little tedious.
Often this tedium can cause one to become distracted or unmotivated.
In this scenario, there’s one thing that I’ve found to be extremely beneficial in regaining motivation, concentration and productivity.
That’s simply to pick up my laptop, wallet and notepad and hit the local coffee shop.
Maybe it’s the change of scenery, maybe it’s the caffeine, whatever it is – it works!
However not all coffee shops are created equally. Some provide a better working environment than others.
For this reason, I’ve decided to create a weekly series of articles dedicated to finding the perfect work spot in my city, Norwich.
Hopefully this will help the fellow hustlers of Norwich to avoid any coffee shop horrors and find the perfect spot to work from.
Before I start dishing the dirt on the various coffee shops in Norwich, I thought I’d create a post outlining the criteria for the perfect spot.
Let’s get into it!
Good customer service
I believe first impressions can tell you a lot about an establishment.
I’m not saying I expect to be treated like a king, I just expect a few things.
If there’s a queue – how efficiently are they getting through it? Does there seem to be any urgency? I want to be able to sit down and crack on as quickly as possible – waiting 15 minutes for a coffee isn’t going to cut it!
Are you greeted with a smile by the barista? Do they ask how your day is going?
These two things take no longer than 5 seconds, so there really no excuse, regardless of the size of the queue.
Whilst I do drink a lot of coffee, I wouldn’t necessarily class myself as a connoisseur.
In fact, I’m a simple guy with simple tastes. I take my coffee black, unsweetened and unadulterated!
I don’t ask for much, it needs to be strong, smooth and hot (although occasionally iced).
My needs align with my expectation surrounding price. I don’t really want to pay £3 for a few shots of espresso and some hot water.
If you’re charging more, your Wi-Fi connection better be fire!
A strong Wi-Fi Connection
Most of the time I spend in a coffee shop is spent creating content.
This means I need access to the internet for researching topics, pulling studies and publishing my posts.
I don’t need a superfast connection, I just want to be able to login quickly and stay there.
If I have to set up my phone as a personal hotspot, this dramatically scores the place down.
Equally, I don’t want to jump through hoops to get online. I understand you want to email market your products to me, but why do you need to know my date of birth?!
For me, there’s not much worse than sitting down on a seat and 30 minutes later feeling like you’ve suffered 3 herniated disks in your lower back!
See, I’m very aware of my posture, but sometimes even this doesn’t help when the seating is uncomfortable.
A padded seat is preferable. Some lumbar support is handy, and a nice, upright backrest is ideal.
Those benches you see in some high-street shops are fine if you’re having a quick coffee break from shopping, but if you’re going to spend a few hours grinding – they’re just not going to cut it!
Access to plug-points
A few months ago, when I was working on my beaten-up Sony Vaio, this would have been number one on the list.
In fact, I used to look for tables with nearby plug points prior to ordering a coffee!
Nowadays though, my new laptop gives me 7+ hours battery life so it’s not such an issue.
Nonetheless, it’s nice to know that if I need to, I can charge my laptop at will.
I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to get on a role with a piece of content only to find that you’re on 5% battery with no access to a plug point!
Environment (fellow grinders)
Its no secret that being surrounded by hard working individuals is one of the biggest motivators.
My first real job was for a small Norwich-based finance company. At the time I joined, there was around 10-12 people working there.
Within a year that number had doubled, as had revenue and profits. How? Everyone was working hard towards a shared goal and it was powerful.
As a freelancer, you have to create your own motivation. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t surround yourself with hard working individuals.
I like to listen to podcast from people who are crushing it in fitness, business and life in general. This provides me with great extrinsic motivation.
When I go to a coffee shop, I love being surrounded by people who are grinding. I don’t really know why, but it puts me in a great mind-set to get my head down and work.
Ambience is also important. Good levels of natural lighting are definitely something I look out for.
I’d also prefer to be too warm than too cold. Typing with numb fingers is borderline painful!
So, there’s my criteria for the perfect work spot!
Over the coming weeks I’ll be visiting and rating some of the most popular spots in Norwich.
What do you look for when working remotely? Let me know in the comments section below, I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Image credit: Flickr