With around one-third of Australians freelancing full-time or on the side, one can only imagine the amount of kitchen counters, coffee tables and couches converted into makeshift offices – undeniably comfortable ones, at that – where the average commute teeters around 10 seconds and pyjamas are perfectly acceptable attire. But working from home has its downfalls – loneliness, for one, and the ever-present distractions of your television, refrigerator and any number of nagging household chores. Your creative mojo, also, can get lost in the monotony of those familiar four walls, so why not shake things up from time to time? Here are 10 spots to try…
It’s an obvious one – and for good reason, with the bustle and buzz of coffee shops scientifically proven to encourage creativity. Avoid peak eating times (so you’re not that jerk sitting on an empty coffee mug for three hours over lunch) and seek out spots with free WiFi and power points aplenty.
Didn’t know a library membership could give you (free) access to an entire catalogue of digital mags and e-books? Join the club (better still, the library). Your local is great for convenience sake, but it’s worth checking out inner-city libraries for their grand old interiors, such as Sydney’s Mitchell Library Reading Room.
Most gyms have cafés where you can linger with your laptop – and here you’re in prime position to bust out a quick workout or fitness class when you come up against a creative block or fall into a slump. Don’t forget to hit the showers afterwards – where 72 per cent of people get their best ideas.
Maya Angelou famously wrote from hotels, telling The Paris Review, “I have kept a hotel room in every town I’ve ever lived in. I rent a hotel room for a few months, leave my home at six, and try to be at work by six-thirty.” But if splashing cash on a room seems lavish, try loitering in the lobby.
People thrive in co-working spaces – so says a Harvard study that found freelancers benefited from feeling like part of a community (we’re betting the coffee machine might also have something to do with it). Other perks include access to printing and scanning facilities, and potential collaborators around every corner.
Other people’s houses
Freelance writer Janet Marshall has worked her way through numerous house-sits across the UK and Europe – “and very often the home and its facilities are grander than anything I could ever afford,” she says. But there’s no need to venture far. Perhaps your neighbour’s dog would like some company during the day? Can’t hurt to ask.
Nothing like a bit of green to stimulate the senses. Numerous studies have found that being in nature makes us more energetic and less lethargic – ideal working conditions, no? A matte laptop screen will help with glare, but consider using this time for reading, or even writing or sketching your ideas.
Cinemas tend to have foyers with plenty of places to perch and are always air-conditioned. Much like a café, the ambience will keep those fingers busy (as will the popcorn), but here there’s the added novelty of rewarding yourself with a trip to the candy bar and a movie once you’ve clocked off.
A (quiet) bar
Outside of happy hour, a low-key drinking hole can make a great workspace, and sipping on a little something while you work could, in fact, be helpful. A sensible amount of alcohol (as in, not enough to put you over the limit) has been shown to aid problem solving and get those creative juices flowing.
Lena Dunham often writes from bed – and did we mention that when Maya Angelou was working away in her hotel rooms, she was horizontal? It mightn’t be the best idea to make a daily habit of it, but working between the sheets once in a while won’t hurt.