The Best Places to Work Aren't In the Office
Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox
Thanks to our increasing reliance on mobile devices, today’s professionals have more freedom than ever. No longer do you need to be chained to a desk to get work done. In fact, many entrepreneurs say the office is their least productive workspace.
See what some entrepreneurs say has replaced their office as their best workspace.
“I consider my car to be my real office because I get the most amount of work done when I am parked,” says Carol Sankar, a business consultant and strategist who works with entrepreneurs. She regularly holds conference calls and meetings on Skype while behind the wheel. She’s even been known to do work while sitting in the parking lot. “My car is my productive space because there are no distractions unlike my office where the phone can ring and I often get called into meetings randomly. My car is just my office on wheels where I am focused and clear,” says Sankar.
The Coffee Shop
Mario Peshev, web designer and co-founder of DevriX, regularly works from cafés. “The coffee shop is the great combination between a work-friendly environment and a safe place to focus on your agenda,” says Peshev, who finds the buzz of the coffee shop stimulates his creative juices better than the office with its cubicle walls and constant interruptions. “Lots of coffices (coffee shop offices) are freelance-friendly which creates a work atmosphere with people working around you, without interrupting your workflow in any way.”
Studies back up Peshev’s observations. The University of Chicago found that moderate ambient noise (around 70 dB) enhances performance on creative tasks and supports innovation. There are even tools out there such as Coffitivity that replicate the coffice environment while you are at home or at the office. While Peshev find the coffee shop a productive working environment for his creative tasks, he admits it isn’t the best place for video or phone calls.
When Lisa Batra, owner of the online children’s consignment shop My Kids’ Threads, isn’t working out of her home office she can be found surrounded by gardens in her local park. “I find the park offers a serene atmosphere that is great for being productive,” she says. “It’s almost a little secret garden where I can escape from the chaos of the world, dig in and get work done.”
Anubh Shah, founder of the jewellery retailer Four Mine, says he’s most productive during his hour-long morning train commute. “My alertness and energy levels are at their highest point in the morning (plus) I’m surrounded by people on their way to work so motivation is at its peak,” says Shah. The office can be chaotic and Shah finds himself pulled away from his work so the one-hour long train ride allows him to focus and accomplish as many daily tasks as possible. “As an online entrepreneur, all I need is access. With connectivity, I can accomplish key tasks remotely and make the most of an opportunity like a morning commute.”
Samantha Boles, president of Automated Security Integrated Solutions, says she’s most productive on the road in a hotel room. “This is the place where I can control my distractions most. The only person knocking on my door will be the room service.”
The hotel room has a lot fewer distractions than Boles’ office. “Since I have a large glass window to my office, it’s extremely difficult to ignore everyone and the instant messages or taps on the window with handwritten notes (Need any coffee? John smith called, need to discuss when you have a minute) without coming across completely rude,” she says.
Knesija Rostova, CEO & cofounder of inSelly, finds the local library a productive work environment. “It has great atmosphere for work; phones are muted, everyone keeps quiet and I'm able to fully concentrate on my tasks without any distractions.” Free Wi-Fi is also a bonus. Plus, Rostova finds the creative juices are stimulated by taking a time out to surf the bookshelves.
Shared office spaces allow small businesses to lease space in a building that they share with other professionals. Amenities such as break rooms, conference rooms, kitchens and bathrooms are shared with other companies. Equipment like photocopiers and printers are often shared as well.
Lida Tang, owner of the cloud platform LiveCirrus, has worked in three co-working spaces and says being surrounded by other busy people helps keep her inspired and shows her how to improve her company. “You get glimpses of how other companies function and this can inspire you to change your own processes or culture,” she says.
Related: Being Active Begins in the Office