In today’s economy, digital nomads, freelancers, students and travellers can get by for hours worth of work with a Wi-Fi connection, a laptop and a hot cup of coffee.
Coffee shops have adapted to this trend by offering work tables and fast internet, as well as lots of places to plug devices so they can charge while we work. Here are five must-haves for using your laptop in a coffee shop.
Power – Laptops may have anywhere from 5-11 hours on a full charge today, but the reality is that everyone uses their devices differently so it’s always wise to bring an extra battery or two, or an external charger if your device can handle that. I also like to carry a power strip, which makes it possible to charge two or more devices simultaneously.
Storage – Keeping work secure and backed up becomes even more essential when working out of an office. Your laptop can be stolen, someone could spill their grande Pumpkin Spice Latte on your keyboard, or an outage or power surge can wipe out whatever work you’ve been busily labouring on. Having a backup hard drive (and using it regularly) makes a lot of sense. Personally, I prefer external hard drives but USB thumbdrives and SD Cards are also good options.
A wireless Mouse – Let’s face it, working on odd tabletops and cramped coffee shop counters isn’t the best experience. But by using a wireless mouse, you can at least approximate the precision and ease of use of a desktop. While laptop trackpads have gotten better and more dynamic, nothing beats an accurate and comfortable mouse. I always make sure to pack a wireless mouse with me; it makes working on the go a lot more tolerable.
Smartphones – While coffee shops and open Wi-Fi hotspots are convenient, they also pose a threat to security and are a target for hackers. To avoid this, it is best to use one’s own smartphone as a wireless and secure hotspot.
This may cost more money, but you can’t put a price on security, especially when working on critical information or projects. There are also standalone wireless hotspots, which can offer secure internet access
Headphones – Coffee Shops are notoriously noisy. There’s the sound of the piped in music, the voices of people chatting over coffee, servers calling out orders and other customers talking on the phone.
A good set of in-ear or over-the-ear headphones can effectively help you focus on the work you need to do and dampen the noise around you. Headphones also make it possible to have conversations using various physical or in-phone noise cancelling features.
These are just a few must-haves for anyone thinking of working on a laptop in a coffee shop or any space where there’s an opportunity to take their work on the go.