Cubicles. Rolling chairs. Staff Lounge. Key card. Workstation.
My apologies for all the foul language.
While I have certainly had my fair share of quality time with those delightful nouns in the past, I (most fortunately), no longer find myself in a position to that requires regular appearances in places where something other than yoga pants are required. Phew.
In fact, I am one of those lucky bums who has the opportunity to work from home several days a week.
Oh, by work from home, I actually mean open up my laptop, sit down, look at the enormous amount of work I have in front of me and then get up and go do laundry instead. And then possibly the dishes. Probably also clean the baseboards. Dust the fans, perhaps? Definitely make a sandwich. Or a salad. Maybe both.
I am totally doing work. Just, um, maybe not the kind that helps pay my internet bill. Oops.
My solution—pack it up, head out of the house, and perk things up a bit.
Yep. To the coffee shop I go. And no, I don’t mean to the ubiquitous green mermaid that’s down the street, around the corner, and strategically placed front and center in my favorite department store. Negative. Those caffeine factories are for people whose need for java surpasses other small details such as quality, time, flavor or the ability to distinguish a latte from say, a cappuccino (or, even more entertaining, a macchiato).
Finding myself in none of the above categories at present, I much prefer to head a local house of brew for my workspiration. Not only are the drinks better, but I’ve discovered that getting out of my house helps me get more accomplished. All this while offering my patronage to local small businesses.
Win, win, win.
As encouragement to give it a shot yourself (pun intended), below I present:
Five reasons to work in a local coffee shop instead of at home:
1. Everybody else is doing it.
Seriously. I’m pretty sure half the city’s freelance writers and entrepreneurs are there. The other half are either too poor, have limited personal skills, are at the bar instead, or are meeting with clients at a restaurant, golf course or um, office.
2. You can work with real live people.
By work “with” them, I mean sit at the same table with your Macbook pros side by side, share an outlet (or four) and take turns banging your knees into the table. This may incite a shared look of compassion, a chuckle or a dismissive smirk. It depends entirely on the cool factor of your tablemates. Choose your seat carefully because you look like a jackass when you move your pile after getting settled in. Rookie move.
3. Meet People.
You will find lots of men wearing button up shirts, jackets and scarves, and probably also, boots. Lots and lots (I’m starting to think it might actually be required attire). Some of these men might actually be under 50. A few of those might also be over 19. Again, it depends on the coffee shop you select and the time of day. The standard age giveaway, by the way, is the hoodie. Just avoid people in hoodies altogether unless you are hipster, in which case, maybe you can swap stories about vintage t-shirt logos and retro winter attire while you sip yerba mate tea together on the velvet couch…
You will also share space with lots of women wearing yoga clothes or bohemian attire. This should offer you relief, since, you know, you are probably also wearing your secret sweatpants intending (pretending?) to go to yoga before or after this.
In case you find yourself in “real” clothes, be sure to wear at least one decently wrinkled item (like that will be hard to find in your non-office worker closet…) so you are slightly less inconspicuous while seated between the chick wearing a skirt she got from the secondhand shop down the street and the one rocking a sweater her great-grandmother knit during the first world war.
There are cool people all around here. Open your eyes and possibly, also your heart.
4. You can wear your headphones sans judgement.
Unless you want to chill to the super groovy coffee shop music they’ve got going on instead, rasta man. It might be “coffeehouse” from XM radio. Oooohh, so… unexpected.
But really, you can crank your tunes up without bothering anyone. Get your motivational music going. Just watch that foot tapping business and try to keep your arms in check. Your “co-workers” can’t hear your tunes, rockstar, and they don’t appreciate your skills.
5. Drink Coffee. Do work faster and with more energy.
Seriously. I order the “big cup” and then keep refilling it. Or sometimes, when I’m feeling like really living large, I order green tea and coffee. Wow. Hello energy.
Post overcaffienation you can write and do lots and lots of shit. Some of it might even be good shit. Maybe. But for sure, it will inspire you to do some work. Or at least pretend to do some work because if you are the only one sitting there with a computer and not making clicking noises people will start to think you are just like, hanging out, and not actually working. Gasp! Who has time to go sit in a coffee shop for three hours and just stare at their computer?! Posers that’s who. Procrastinators. People who don’t have “real” jobs.
Or. . . possibly, writers, entrepreneurs, and other geniuses who are working out this whole work-life balance bit.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Waylon Lews/Denver Post