Who works from the office anymore? The cast of Mad Men, that's who. Or at least the did until the series just ended after a really great run. Here at Fonality, we think the era of being limited to the traditional office environment may soon be seen more in TV reruns of shows like Mad Men than real life in the near future. Taking its place: the work from everywhere movement.
I heard a story on NPR this morning talking about the distractions many employees report in today’s open concept offices – and how some spend surprisingly little time at their desks. Thankfully, visionary employers are freeing their people to work in all kinds of places.
Really, all you need is some basic technology tools. Start with a laptop, tablet and/or smartphone. Sign up for a business phone system that puts your voice calls in the cloud and connects colleagues with collaboration tools over the Internet. When employees have the freedom to work from anywhere, word on the street is employees with this kind of flexibility are happier. According to The Harvard Business Review, they are also more productive when they're allowed to telecommute.
With Wi-Fi popping up in the craziest places, pack up your VoIP virtual phone service, your favorite gadgets, and hit the road to one of our...
15 wondrous places to work remotely
1. Your home office: When you think wacky and incredible places, your home office likely isn't the first spot to come to mind. But for Stefan Didak, it is. Back in the '80s, he started up his own company, and since then he's created perhaps the most famous home office out there. The office is like a techie candy store. By following Didak's lead, you can make your home office into the most amazing place you work.
2. Hermosa Beach, California: Near Los Angeles, you can get free Wi-Fi while chilling seaside.
3. Whole Foods: If you're anything like my team, you hate packing lunches but really want to make better choices. Whole Foods has tons of ready-made options and great seating. Plus, locations offer Wi-Fi for all customers. It's quieter
4. Sofia, Bulgaria: When's the last time you said, "Hey, I've got a few extra vacation days, time to go to Bulgaria!"? While it doesn't enjoy the tourism popularity of places like Italy and France, Bulgaria is a truly underrated place. That's because it not only gives you an unbeatable taste of the Balkans, but it's also a Wi-Fi gold mine. In the capital city of Sofia, for instance, there are tons of places where you can enjoy free Wi-Fi.
5. Chiang Mai, Thailand: A city that traces its history to the 1200s, Chiang Mai is a beautiful place among the mountains in the northern part of the country. What makes it a great remote work spot, as The Telegraph points out, is that shared working spaces can be rented out for very cheap prices. And the city also has many free Wi-Fi spots. James Clark, a blogger from Melbourne who runs a travel blog where he documents his remote work exploits, stated of Chiang Mai, "I realized when I first started coming here that this city is a cafe wonderland. With so many cafes with Wi-Fi, it is an easy place to live as a digital nomad." During a 30-day trip to the city, he enjoyed a new cafe every day, following his taste buds from the lattes of Ristr8to to the top-tier coffee of The Old Chiang Mai Cafe.
6. Phuket, Thailand: While we're on the topic of Thailand, why not check out Phuket? As The Telegraph points out, this island offers super cheap prices and boasts positively tropical year-round weather.
7. Cafes in amazing places: Going back to the Melbourne always-remote worker James Clark, there are a lot of cafes around the world that he's been to and loved. Here are six of his favorites, that all make first-rate remote work spots:
- Foreign Correspondents Club (Phnom Penh, Cambodia): A 20+ year mainstay in the heart of Phnom Penh, the acronym for this cafe is FCC, but we'll call it The Good FCC. And there's plenty of good food at this place too, if you're looking to supplement your remote work coffee with lunch.
- Mantra (Bali, Indonesia): One of the main reasons we go to cafes to work remotely is because we want a place that looks cooler than our coffee cup-strewn home office. In this regard, Mantra delivers, providing a lovely ambience that feels like home - if your home was about five times more awesome. Also, Clark points out that it tends to be pretty quiet, which makes it optimal for working.
- Chat Cafe (Bali): This place has the distinction of being a congregating ground for remote workers, which means that if you visit, you'll likely have no difficulty striking up conversation with someone, since you and that person will have at least one thing in common.
- Moustache Houze (Penang, Malaysia): Looking at the picture of this hip spot on Clark's blog, it's easy to see why it's a favorite. From the high ceilings to the bright colors, it's a work spot that threatens to distract you with everything that's going on.
- Cat Cafe (Penang): This is the best cafe in the world, because it offers exactly what its title implies: cats. And who can argue with that? The cats enjoy a host of cat-friendly equipment that's sprinkled around the cafe. As Clark explains, this cafe perhaps isn't conducive to optimal productivity levels, but hey, it has cats. They deserve your attention.
- Kantan Kafe (Penang): A look at this cafe reveals it's more minimalist in terms of its aesthetic, which makes it ideal for people who are looking to buckle down and get some serious work done without distractions. With bare walls and floors, it's like a work sanctuary.
I could work with this view of Vilnius, Lithuania.
8. Anywhere in Lithuania: Why Lithuania, you ask? Well, as Business Insider reported, a company called Rotten Wi-Fi conducted a test of global public Wi-Fi network speeds. The winning country wasn't a place like the U.S. or Japan, but instead Lithuania, where the averagedownload speed is 15.40 Mbps. That's more than double the United States' average of 6.89 Mbps.
9. Space: The first commercial space tourist exploration company - Virgin Galactic - will offer free Wi-Fi for those aboard its flights. Well, there's one caveat: The Wi-Fi might be free, but the cost to get aboard the commercial flight will run you a cool $200,000. According to Business Insider, this is a "cheap" price (their word, not ours). If you have that kind of money to throw around, you can probably afford to miss a few days of work, too.
And once you’re in space, there’s a WiFi-enabled place you can visit: the International Space Station. Sure, the connection speed may not be fast - 10 Mbps download time, 3 Mbps upload - but we're guessing you can't beat the view anywhere on Earth.
10. The North Pole: You may have thought that the North Pole is only for people who work in a very specific sector - and can tolerate extreme cold - but you'd be wrong. Since 2005, there's been a Wi-Fi hot spot at this icy tip of the world, as a WhoIsHostingThis? infographic points out. This means anyone looking to get some quality remote work done can immediately pack their bags and head to the North Pole. Right?
11. Sarahan, India: The same infographic points out that the Indian desert village of Sarahan - which didn't even have electricity 10 years ago - now boasts Wi-Fi for the village. The Wi-Fi is powered by a tower which was constructed in 2005.
11. Mount Girnar: After you've finished your desert exploration/remote work day in Sarahan, consider going to India's Mount Girnar, a 3,383-foot peak that, in addition to offering stunning scenery, also provides Wi-Fi in the areas where you'd be climbing. A workday where you're trekking up the side of a mountain? Sounds like a great team builder!
13. Phone booths in Russia: Seriously, not only are there still phone booths in Moscow, but they're Wi-Fi-equipped! That's one way to take an outmoded service and update it for the modern world. So the next time you're in Moscow, plan a WFPB day. It may sound a little sketchy to your boss, but hey - When in Moscow, right?
14. Atop a donkey: Don't you hate it when your donkey riding gets in the way of you logging onto the company network? Well thankfully, you don't have to do one at a time anymore. As Engadget reports, Israel has Wi-Fi-equipped donkeys. For real.
15. Anywhere you want: As this list should illustrate, there's pretty much no limit to where you can work remotely. From the mountaintops to the reaches of space, there's a connection everywhere you go. According to Business Insider, 13 percent of people even work from the bathroom. (For the record: Not okay!!!)
No matter where you choose to work, make sure you do it in style. Where’s the wackiest, wildest or coolest place technology has enabled you to take or make a work call? Tell us in the comments!
If your business is ready to work remotely in places from the mundane to the magnificent, get a tour of the software that makes this all possible.