Working from home is either an option or a necessity for many community managers. For those who are independent workers, they might not live near the headquarters for the brand they represent. Even when you are a local, the hours might be best suited to working outside the usual 9-to-5 office.
While it can be useful for these professionals to have a home office, that may not be feasible. Perhaps you live in a Manhattan studio or you have a roommate or a family living with you. Whatever the circumstances, there are many times when community managers will want or need to work somewhere other than a traditional office. When that situation arises, where do you go?
Here are a few important tips to keep in mind as you look for a place to complete your daily duties as a community manager. From unexpected places to visit to resources to make the most of your time, this guide will help you be prepared to navigate the ins and outs of remote working.
1. Understand Your Personal Needs
Before you start looking for a place to unpack your laptop, take the time for some self-reflection. What environment do you need to do your best work? Does an office environment put you in work mode or does it feel restrictive? Do you need music or background noise? Are bright lights or dim lights best for you? Will you sit or stand?
Let an understanding of your own habits and needs guide your search. This can help at the most basic level, such as deciding whether to go to a cafe or to the library. But environments across these spaces can vary widely, so awareness of what you need can also help you gauge the different spots you visit.
Be honest in this self-evaluation; it will save you time, money, and stress in the long run.
2. Consider Creative Options
Thanks to the increasing number of people who work outside of offices, community managers have an unprecedented selection for where they choose to work. Coffee shops are a tried and true choice, but some restaurants and bars also have the necessary infrastructure to support remote workers. This opens up a similar environment to a cafe during later hours, which can be helpful for community managers on late shifts.
Another recent trend is coworking spaces. These spots recreate some of the basic ideas of an office, but are geared specifically toward independent individuals. Coworking spaces might also offer traditional business resources such as a kitchen, conference rooms, and networking events.
Don’t assume that you have to go high-tech for a secure spot. Libraries or community centers can also supply a great work environment.
3. Check the Utilities
Once you’re at a location, scope out the resources available. Community managers need reliable Internet through their shifts, especially since they might need to keep up with real-time news or stream videos while working. You’ll also want to reliably have access to a power outlet and enough space to sit down with your computer. Most coworking spaces can meet those demands without issue, but crowd size can be a variable for cafes and libraries that might cramp your style.
In that vein, be sure that you know the open hours for your location. Setting up shop at your local cafe is great, but if they need to close just as you’re rushing to make a deadline, it puts everybody in an unpleasant situation.
4. Calculate the Costs
Whenever you go to one of these remote work spots, be prepared to cover any costs. Coworking spaces might have daily drop-in charges or they might require a monthly fee to secure desk space. Even a coffee shop isn’t a free ride. When you’re working at a for-profit location, plan to make a purchase every hour or two.
Libraries or community centers will sometimes require a membership for you to enter, but this depends on the system where you are. Make sure you call ahead or check their website before showing up to know what you’d need to gain entry to these local institutions.
5. Match Your Tasks
The final piece of the puzzle is to have a general idea of what you need to accomplish on a given work day. For instance, if your shift will include meetings or phone calls, then the hushed stacks of a library are the wrong place to be. Look for spaces that will accommodate each of your main responsibilities to clients.
That could mean you’re at the library some days and a coworking space other days. The beauty of remote work is that you can find the perfect space for any given day, so don’t be afraid to experiment and explore unexpected options.