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5 Weird Places to Work That Aren’t Your Home or Office

Topics: Work Culture
places to work

Desks can be boring, even if you’re standing. So why not change things up with some odd places to work that could inspire your creativity and productivity?

Here are some places to consider when you need a new outlook on work (and have a boss who’s cool with occasional telecommuting):

1. The beach

How great is it that you can find WiFi just about anywhere? Find a pleasant spot near your favorite body of water (river, lake, or ocean) and sit down to get some work done. No, you probably can’t plug in to a nearby shell, but you can use portable chargers to keep your battery life strong for a while. Just don’t leave your valuables unattended and be sure to wear your sun protection!

2. A tent

From the time we’re kids, we often find a thrill from making “tents” in our living rooms and discovering a whole new sense of space between some cushions and chairs and a big sheet. Work spaces aren’t any different. A tent — yes just a simple nylon shelter — can be a literal “pop-up” for inspiration. One Japanese company even experimented recently by offering all of its employees a chance for a day of tent-based work to change their outlook and inspire fresh ideas.

3. A museum

The modern museum’s visitor need to keep connected means that many large museums have their own free WiFi available once you pay for your admission. You can sit on a bench in front of a famous piece of art or interesting new exhibit, and still stay connected with the office on your laptop. Just be careful to not take loud work calls in the middle of a gallery where you’ll be interrupting on someone else’s thoughtful reverie.

Some cool options with free WiFi: The Getty Museum in Los Angeles, MoMA in NYC (get a pass from security to bring your laptop inside), or try anywhere on the National Mall in Washington D.C. (including the Smithsonian museums).

4. The grocery store

Yes, it’s true. Some modern groceries have everything you need to make an interesting work space for a few hours. They can have free WiFi, tables, cafes, hot and cold food bars, and aisles and aisles of snacks (for purchase). Some of them even offer a few hours of complimentary childcare, like a favorite work spot of writer Ryan Battles, who loves spending a few hours at his nearby Giant Eagle store (mostly located in western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio cities).

“I only do it about once per week, but it is a great break from the other places I typically work, and I can take the kids there too while my wife gets a little break,” Battles writes.

Check grocery stores nearby for who has WiFi and some spots to work. For example, Curbed notes that many Seattle area Safeway stores have free WiFi (though they may not offer some of the other fancier amenities).

5. The gym

Lots of gym chains also offer “lounge” type zones where people might mingle. Why not encourage yourself with a little exercise before or after you put in a few hours of work? With your gym membership, you can hang out, grab a smoothie or fresh juice, and that little bit of exercise you can squeeze in between conference calls is just that much easier due to your proximity to that blasted StairMaster.

So that’s just a start of some ideas to get you out of the cube. You can check with your new outside the office workplace to see if they offer free or member-only secured WiFi. Always follow your employer’s rules for working on unsecure networks and be smart with your personal information.

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