Five tips for government employees to make the most of working from coffee shops
Teleworking is no longer the sole domain of the private sector. In fact, working remotely is not only encouraged for government employees, it was written into law in 2010.
As such, it may come as no surprise that according to recent telework research data, that the number of telecommuting federal employees grew by more than 420 percent between 2005 and 2011, and state employment of teleworkers grew 114 percent in the same time frame.
While it’s common to assume that the home office is where those telecommuting employees will choose to work, it’s not necessarily the case. Coffee shops (Coffices) are fast becoming a destination of choice for professionals from all sectors, including all levels of government. The reasons are many, but some of the advantages most often highlighted are proximity to work or home, wider selection of locations and the environment being conducive to productivity.
For those who have yet to discover the Coffice as a possible workspace but want to, here are five things to keep in mind to help make it a successful destination for a fruitful workday:
1. The night before heading for the Coffice, you should charge all required electronics (laptop, PDAs). Before retiring for the night, pack everything (laptop, power cord, peripherals, files, paper/pens, etc.) for the “just in case” scenarios. This way you ensure that leaving for the Coffice mirrors the process of leaving for the office — bag is ready to go.
2. Choose a Coffice based on your own needs, such as a location that is accessible to work or home, with strong Wi-Fi and food/beverage options that work for you during the time you’ll be spending there.
3. Look for a seat close to a power outlet. To avoid possible “power struggles” you might want to invest in a portable powerbar and/or extension cord.
4. When in doubt, avoid working on information that might be confidential. It doesn’t matter where you’re sitting in a Coffice, assume nothing is completely private and secure — especially Coffice Wi-Fi networks.
Editor’s note — According to a news report, state governments are working to ensure the security of state documents and IT networks. They are attempting to safeguard state e-mail systems from hackers.
5. Consider bringing an external hard drive with key files you may need to access. Again, not only do you want to ensure you’re not communicating sensitive information, but if the network connection slows down, you want to be able to rely on offline access as well.
Sam Title is Chief Executive Cofficer of The Coffice, an online community dedicated to professionals who work from coffee shops. To learn more about and interact with The Coffice’s membership (Cofficers), follow @TheCoffice, like Facebook.com/TheCoffice, and sign up here for priority access to the freshly brewed community, launching soon.