Liza Shulyayeva

Experimenting with remote work locations

With my third booster shot out of the way I’ve felt a bit safer finally going out into the world a bit more and actually experimenting with different work locations. One of the things I love about remote work is being able to work from anywhere, but throughout the pandemic it was impossible to explore this possibility because it simply wasn’t safe to do anything but stay at home.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve done more experimentation and worked in different places. I decided to reflect on some of them here, as well as on the question of whether being able to work from anywhere has really been living up to my expectations (spoiler: it’s been great).

Coffee shops

I’ve worked at a few coffee shops. There is a chain here called Espresso House that has mediocre coffee and outrageous prices, but also very cozy seating locations at which people are welcome to stay for longer to work.

ThinkPad laptop in a coffee shop

Closed laptop in a coffee shop

There are other cafes too. Like this one, which was mercifully empty and even quiet enough to take a meeting:

Laptop on table in small cafe

Likewise, I’ve worked in cozy lunch places, like Eggs Inc in Gallerian:

Pink cafe

A free co-working space

My local shopping mall has a little co-working space. It is basically an open room with the mall outside. Nothing fancy, but it was alright.

Coworking space

The same mall also has a lounge space which is like a more relaxed co-working space.

Lounge

A long distance train on my way to Gothenburg

I took an overnight trip to Gothenburg, which is about four hours away by train. I worked on the train, even taking a meeting. There were a couple of connectivity blind spots on the way, but nothing major and I was able to keep working throughout. The SJ trains I’ve been on have all been really nice, with comfortable seats and power points at each seat. I love how clean and quiet the trains are.

Train seats

Laptop on the train

The laundry room

My building’s laundry room has been among my favorite places to work from, while doing my own laundry. It is warm, quiet (booked for 3 hours per person, so nobody else is doing their laundry at the same time), and the sound of the machines is nice.

Laptop in a laundry room with 3 washing machines

My newly grassy balcony

My favorite place so far has actually been in my house. I got some artificial grass for my balcony. It’s now getting warm, and I spent a day working out there in the “grass” with Rigel.

Two laptops on fake grass on a balcony with a cat in the background

So what’s remote like “post”-pandemic?

I put “post” in quotes because the pandemic isn’t over. But I am more free with where I go and am not strictly self-isolating as I was before. I’m also less stressed and worried about COVID, and actually meet friends instad of just avoiding any contact with humans.

So far, it’s lived up to my expectations. I feel like I have the freedom to pick the most optimal work location for the day. Not just in a way that works around the rest of my plans, but also in a way that lets me focus the most easily. Some days I feel like I’d focus better at home. Other days I feel like I’d focus best in a cafe. I feel like not being tied to sitting at the same desk in the same building every day of the week has improved my overall productivity and happiness levels.

I don’t often have trouble focusing in general, especially not at home, but find that a change of scenery helps that even more. There is something about sitting in a cafe where you feel some sense of having a limited amount of time that really gets me into work mode, in a “I can’t stay here forever so I should get as much done as I can quickly” kind of way.

I am excited to venture even farther, and work from different locations for a few days or weeks at a time. I got a pet stroller for the cats for this purpose: to take them with me to nearby regions or towns. I am still working on acclimating them to it and K2 is injured right now so we arne’t going anywhere just yet. Rigel likes the stroller, but does not appreciate sharing it with K2. It’s… a project.

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