When we need a change of scenery or a reprieve from working in our home office, we have a habit to head out to the same place every time, our local standby that has both free WiFi and a cozy chair. But, if you’re traveling for work or pleasure, and you are unfamiliar with the area, it can be hard to know where you can go to get some quality work done. Luckily, some of the most popular coffee chains also offer some of the best atmospheres to work.
4. Caribou Coffee
Mostly located in the Midwest, (although currently in 18 states and in Washington, DC) Caribou Coffee offers excellent coffee and large dining rooms. This is a great spot to enjoy a great cup of coffee, and will undoubtedly have multiple outlets available for your laptop.
However, because most of these locations are designed in a broad, open concept, the noise level can be a little bit much for getting a lot of work done. When you arrive at Caribou, try not to sit in high traffic areas. Spaces near the door, and especially the register line can get very crowded and distracting.
3. Dunkin’ Donuts
Everyone knows that “America runs on Dunkin’,” and their affordable coffee drinks and frosted treats definitely can give you that caffeine fix you’re looking for as you work through your day. They offer some pretty good specials and rewards too if you’re interested in working toward a free coffee now and then.
However, their workspace options tend to be smaller than many of their competitors with some Dunkin’ Donuts locations only offering bar stool seating. The perks of choosing Dunkin’ for your workday include great prices on their food and beverage and little competition for WiFi bandwidth.
2. Panera Bread
Panera has over 2,000 locations across the United States and Canada, and although they may be considered a lunch spot, their coffee is spot on. Their coffee dispensers are labeled with the time it was brewed, so you know just how fresh your coffee is. Not only that, their seating arrangements and comfortable booths offer plenty of private workspaces. They have plenty of room to work in a group too if you have friends who plan to join you for a work session. Often, there are fireplaces, patios and other cozy decorating elements to make you feel at home. You can grab a large table to spread your materials out on, and enjoy a bottomless cup of coffee while you work.
Panera also has a great rewards program and has the opportunity to order online, so your food and beverage order is ready for you to arrive and get right to work. Unfortunately, the WiFi is not as fast here or as reliable as it is at some other coffee spots, a few locations still limit their WiFi usage during peak times. (Return after 2 p.m. to enjoy unrestricted WiFi again.)
This Seattle-based coffee giant can be found in almost every major city worldwide. Besides just offering a good cup of coffee, Starbucks provides a great selection of food options including healthy protein boxes and egg bites, as well as traditional cafe baked goods like muffins and breakfast sandwiches.
If you’re not familiar with Starbucks, or not a fan of the big box chains, you might not know how convenient their online ordering app and rewards programs are. You can order on your way to the store, to have your coffee ready for you when you arrive. This is a great time saver for those trying to cram as much work into your day as possible and completely eliminates the time you would be waiting in line. You can also earn rewards toward free drinks and food.
Starbucks offers one of the most reliable and fastest WiFi options of any chain coffee shop, too. Furthermore, recent renovations to many Starbucks stores has changed their bland interiors into something more inspiring, including roaring fireplaces, cozy leather furniture, and even a selection of wine and beer at select locations. Imagine yourself settling in with a mountain view, a cozy fire, and a hot coffee in Starbucks’ Woodland Park, CO location.
Wherever you choose to work, consider all the ways you can be most proactive to make the most of your experience.
- Bring your own surge protector strip: This way you won’t have to wait for an open outlet, you can just plug in your strip and offer power to other laptop users too. You’re powering your computer and also, suddenly a hero. Win-win.
- Use your hotspot: If the WiFi seems to be slow, make sure you know how to turn your cell phone into a hot spot.
- Download in advance: If you know you will need multiple resources or PDFs consider downloading that information from home before you leave, then you’ll not be soaking up valuable bandwidth or wasting your time at the coffee house.