If you’re not tethered to a work address, you’re in good company: 34 percent of the American workforce is now freelance and an additional 2.6 percent telecommutes. As a result, a new mobile workstyle has emerged, one where logistics can be challenging. These seven hacks smooth out the wrinkles in a nomadic workday.
1. Make friends with a barista. Want to feel welcome hogging a seat in a coffee shop? Have a few places you’re recognized and connect with employees. Tip well and conspicuously, and consume appropriately — experts recommend purchases every one to two hours. Be sensitive to coffee shops where lingerers are not appreciated.
2. Check out the library. Wi-Fi is often free at public libraries, and there’s usually quiet seating (not to mention well-maintained bathrooms). University and museum libraries may be even better.
3. Seek a conference call oasis. Quiet space for an extended phone call can be at a premium in the city. A good place to look for a discreet sofa is the deserted hallway of a hotel meeting room floor when no conferences are in session. Study rooms in libraries work well for this, too.
4. BYO noise. Eavesdropping distracts focus — instead pop in your earbuds and go-to playlist or white-noise app. Plus, be a good citizen of the mobile worker universe and keep your audio (including on videos) to yourself with headphones.
5. Carry protection. Use a lock to secure your laptop to the table when you head to the bathroom in a coffee shop. Protect your data when using public Wi-Fi, too. You know this — now you need to take it seriously.
6. Visit a hotel for breaks. Sprinting from meeting to meeting to meeting? Hotel lobbies welcome non-guests these days. After you use the facilities, grab coffee or lunch and get some work done if you have a lull — most lobbies now serve food and beverage.
7. Take charge of your battery life. Because battery life runs your life. Carry a spare battery or booster for your laptop and phone. When traveling, check seat power outlet locations online because if under the seat they can be impossible to find by groping. Add a small power strip to your gear, too, to share outlets at crowded coffee shops and airports. Charge-hungry fellow travelers will thank you.
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