Remote Working from Brooklyn: Make The Most of the Coffee Shop
Modern work culture tells us that we have to spend every minute of our nine-to-five working in an office — one that may be loud, distraction-prone, and uninspiring. Now that startups and companies that embrace flexibility are becoming more prevalent, we have a chance to reinvent how, when, and where we work. So why not get your own work done on your own terms, right here in Brooklyn?
The coffee shop “office” or “coffice” is no strange place for freelancers, independents, creatives and those of us who try to avoid going into the office at all costs. They’re known for being dark and mellow, with decent WiFi, a place to sit, and of course — great coffee. Since moving to Fort Greene earlier this year, I have started to perfect the art of doing independent work outside of the home or office. Here are my tips, advice, and of course favorite Brooklyn spots to hit up.
1. Plan out your day beforehand
I cannot recommend this enough! To maximize your effectiveness and productivity throughout the day it’s important to give yourself some kind of structure. Before heading out pick the most important four or five things you need to get done that day.
Are there any local errands you need to run? Coordinate your day so that you can do them in the most efficient way! If you’re planning on being especially mobile make note of spots you can stop at and get work done in between meetings or errands. Want to get extra exercise in? Maybe pick a spot that’s a bit farther away so you can ride your bike or walk more. A great excuse to go to the gym is to work near one and stop on the way home. After all, you are sitting all day!
2. Do your research
Now that you know what you’re looking to accomplish it’s important to note that not all coffee shops are created equal. Some are tiny, frown upon laptops, or actively enforce restrictions. Scout out a few different ones using Yelp and Foursquare. Some variables to consider:
- What time does it close?
- Does it have the essentials (WiFi, outlets)?
- Are there good/bad reviews of the place?
- Do they allow laptops?
- Is it a cash only establishment?
From this criteria organize a list of places. Consider switching places during the day; ie coordinate a 3-hour coffee shop visit that ends right around lunchtime and move on to another cafe.
3. Bring the right tools
Remote working turns you into a walking office- everything you’ll need has to be with you. Stopping at home in-between visits can sap your productivity so pack your laptop power cord (and extension), phone charger, a snack, headphones, and maybe a mobile hotspot! I personally use a Karma or tether from my iPhone if there’s a spotty WiFi connection.
4. Double check during the weekend
Another side effect of the new economy is the lessening sacredness of no work-weekends. The coffee shop so friendly during the weekday can become a totally different monster on the weekend. Call ahead to make sure that your spot is open and allow laptops during this time.
For example, a few weekends ago I was working on a side project with a friend on Graham Ave. in East Williamsburg. We were sure that there would be at least two or three coffee shops where we could work for a few hours. Guess what? Not one! We waited for twenty minutes before we could get a seat at the only place that wasn’t closed and allowed laptops on the weekend.
5. Find or create your own hyper-local community
If you know other like-minded independents in your area, see if you can arrange a small gathering to cowork together. Take the opportunity to invite people and make new friends while you’re at it. Even get to know the barista or shop owner. Use your new working habits to get to know your little slice of Brooklyn even better!
To get you started here are some of my favorite spots around Brooklyn:
DUMBO Kitchen 108 Jay Street, DUMBO
I like coming to Dumbo Kitchen for a meal while working. Good as a pit stop of you have meetings in the area, or just to grab a coffee!
Red Lantern Bikes 354 Mrytle Ave, Fort Greene
A Fort Greene gem. It’s actually a great bike shop, where the people are super friendly and willing to answer all your questions about bikes. But the best part is the coffee shop in the front. It’s open early and closes late, and the vibe at night is great because they lower the lights and put out candles. They have a liquor license too!
Toby’s Estate Coffee N6th Street, Williasmburg
Big open space with coffee and treats. Central Williamsburg location, everyone here is working on something! There is a table reserved for “no laptops”.
Variety Cafe 368 Graham Street, Bushwick
The only spot on Graham Ave that allowed laptops on the weekend. Plus there’s a good amount of seating and outlets throughout. Great playlist too!
Smooch 264 Carlton Ave, Fort Greene
No laptop policy on the weekends, but cozy seating throughout, as well as plenty of outlets! Also, they have great coffee and vegan food.
Hanco’s Multiple Locations
A Vietnamese eatery with multiple locations the one in Brooklyn Heights is near Downtown Brooklyn and a 20 minute walk from DUMBO. A great place to have lunch while working they have seating upstairs that’s usually empty.
Work Well Brooklyn!