If you are a Star Wars fan, you will remember the classic scene when Chewie, Hans, Leia, and Luke were trapped in the trash compactor on the Death Star. As they hid from the Storm Troopers, the walls began to close in.
Does your office ever start to feel that way? By the end of the workday, I am far more productive if I leave the building.
By leaving, there is less risk of interruption from phone calls and colleagues stopping by, but more importantly, it is an opportunity to clear your head and work in a new environment.
Where do you like to work, if not in the office? Here are the advantages and disadvantages of some of the most common choices.
Advantages: Working from home is many people’s favorite alternative. You have access to everything you need: a charging station, optional background noise, food and drink, and it comes at no cost. You also have more control over your environment, meaning you can avoid distractions or seek them out should you require a break.
Disadvantages: You will likely find working from home a huge test of will power. Your home is where you relax; it is where you escape from work, which is why motivating yourself to work from home is very difficult. In addition, if you live with family, spouse, or roommates it can be difficult to work if they seek out your attention.
Advantages: The change of scenery can be helpful to productivity, and a certain amount of background noise is usually preferable to total silence. In addition, coffee shops can often give you the chance to work outside, unlike the office, and access to beverages and snacks if required.
Disadvantages: You do not have control of your environment, which means if someone starts speaking loudly on the phone, the location becomes very busy, or there are no charging ports, you will have to adapt. In addition, you pay for the privilege of working there, which can add up.
Advantages: If distractions detract from your ability to work, there is no better place than a library. It costs nothing and you will have access to a comfortable environment. The Library also has the advantage of being a new environment; the mere act of going out of your way to the library could focus your attention.
Disadvantages: Trapping yourself in an environment where all you can do is focus on your work can be difficult; there may be little opportunity to grab coffee, or use the bathroom, etc. unless you are willing to pack up your laptop.
Advantages: This is a great use of your time. If you are on a train, plane, or automobile, you have little else to do besides entertain yourself or work. It can also give you something on which to focus besides the monotony of travel.
Disadvantages: Access to internet or charging stations will likely be your biggest challenge working on transportation. In addition, the cramped space and constant interruptions will make for difficult working environment.
Wherever you choose to work, ultimately it is a question of what works best for you and your boss. Personally, I am a coffee shop worker and do so regularly. If you can work late into the night or early on a Saturday morning with the TV on and in the comfort of your bed, go for it!