Sick of that same old home office set-up? Just because you work from home doesn’t mean you have to work at home. The beauty of being self-employed is that you can work almost anywhere, and often a change of surroundings can lead to invigoration and inspiration. We’re not saying to try every Starbucks in the city (though it would be a great way to explore the city’s neighbourhoods)—think outside the mug and be brilliant somewhere new. Pack up your laptop and make yourself comfortable in these out-of-office options that suit a start-up budget.
1. A Local Library
No purchase necessary, no time limit, no problems. It doesn’t get much more affordable than a public library. Find a nearby location (even better if it’s in a beautiful architectural building like this or this , choose your desk space (private cubby? communal table?), log on to the free wifi (no, you don’t have to be a paying customer) and revel in that carefully policed silence (thanks, librarians!).
2. A Grocery Store
If your favourite grocery store has a built-in café (like the wonderful ones at Whole Foods and Loblaws), those spaces are likely dead on weekdays before and after lunch—the golden hours to get work there done. Find a table with an outlet, fuel up with a coffee and enjoy the free wifi in a market with minimal hustle and bustle. Hungry? Grab an apple from the produce aisle for a natural sugar kick or a handful of walnuts to boost your brain health. But beware the busy lunch crowd. If you’re hoping to avoid it, this is a great opportunity for a midday walk or workout to amp-up your productivity for the second half of the day.
3. A Great Restaurant
Checking out the city’s best restaurants won’t break the bank with an app like Toronto-based Flexday, which turns restaurant downtime into your potential workspace. Sign up to buy and spend credits to enjoy free coffee, tea and high speed wifi all day at participating bars and eateries. A $9 per month subscription gives you about two workdays, amounting to just $5 per day, so you can afford to splurge on lunch in a particularly tempting locale every now and then.
4. A Pretty Park
Warm weather is on its way, and what better time to roll out a blanket, pack a picnic lunch and find a shady spot with a lovely view to get work done. Make sure your laptop battery is at 100% (even better if you have a backup charger) and take along a screen shade to avoid the sun’s glare. Of course, this is an option for those who don’t need wifi or can afford to create a hotspot with their smartphone when needed.
5. A Hot Desk
The new wave of the workforce is filled with entrepreneurs, start-ups and the self-employed—and with that, we’ve seen the rise of chic shared workspaces that can be rented by day, month or year. A hot desk is the kind you’d rent by day, and you can do so for as little as $25, including free wifi, unlimited coffee (in some spots) and the company of like-minded professionals. The price per day decreases if you sign up for a month or year, but why not try out a bunch before you do? Some of downtown Toronto’s cheapest options include The Village Hive , Workplace One and District 28.