by Jordan Kapellusch
Inside the open room, light conversation and laughter move back and forth between the handful of people in line and those standing to the side waiting. Professional and college students are among those seated in the spacious downtown shop.
Desiree has just picked up her drink and she sits down in front of her laptop at the small cafe table. Her phone rings.
“Hello,” she says.
There’s a pause and a smile, followed by
“Can I call you back in a few hours? I just got to work, and have a meeting first thing.”
She hangs up the phone, and smiles at the webcam. Desiree’s workday has begun.
Like many people in the connected world of 2014, Desiree has a job that allows her to work remote. Her office is anywhere she can get online to accomplish her assignments and communicate with coworkers.
A 2013 study by the Wall Street Journal shows that the number of workers who are logging on from their personal offices has increased by five million since 1997. It’s not just startups either, big companies like Mozilla and Upworthy have taken this model to its limit with a 100% distributed workforce.
Most businesses that allow remote work practice a hybrid model, where an office is also available for those workers who want a more focused, professional atmosphere.
For anybody else, however, either their home or an external location is the office of choice.
What does it take to work remote? Perhaps not as much as you might think. Here is the basic recipe:
- Computer on which to work – This can also include a tablet, or smartphone.
- Wifi (or other internet source)
- A comfortable surrounding that meets your personal style of work.
Downtown Appleton’s business-friendly environment means there are quite a few of these professional nomads seeking a great place to get some work done. Rife with coffee shops, pubs and restaurants, there’s not a better spot to look than right downtown.
Depending on your individual style of work, Downtown Appleton has something for everyone.
For those who prefer peace and quiet to work:
Appleton Public Library
Just a block north of the busy downtown thoroughfare, Appleton’s Public Library provides a work environment that is a favorite of students and business people alike.
A reading garden on the first floor, and large open workspace on the second make the library a great place to go if your productivity depends on a low external noise factor.
- In addition to the standard quiet factor for which libraries are famous, APL has dedicated study rooms which place an extra barrier between your work and any noise.
- Being in a library, you are surrounded by reference materials, and the reading chairs on the second floor were imported from Heaven itself.
- If your work requires any phone or video conferencing, the library will not work.
- Being surrounded by an enormous collection of diverse magazines, literature and other content could prove to be a productivity downfall if you’re distraction-prone.
Maybe you work best when you can enjoy the fresh air, sunlight and hum of the outdoors. Most recently the site of some of the bigger concerts at the 2014 Mile of Music, Jones Park provides a beautiful and expansive outdoor location.
Without any Wifi of its own, working online at Jones Park will require a smartphone or internet hotspot that lets you create your own wireless internet signal. This article provides a step-by-step breakdown of how to use your smartphone this way.
- You get to work in a park.
- Being exposed to sunlight and natural environments is proven to increase creativity.
- Also, you get to work in a park.
- If for some reason the weather heads south, Jones Park has an open pavillion that can be used for shelter.
- Did I mention that you get to work in a park?
- Due to the climate of Wisconsin, this remote office location cannot be enjoyed year round.
- If your phone has a limited data plan, using it as a wireless hotspot could quickly eat through your allowance (especially for data-intensive tasks like photo downloads or videoconferencing).
For those who prefer the subtle ambience of a coffee shop:
Copper Rock Coffee Company
With an award-winning menu and two dining areas, Copper Rock Coffee has been one of the best meeting and work spaces in the valley since it’s founding in 2002. The locally-created art on display and understated interior color palette make it one of the best places I’ve found to blast through a stuffed task list.
And the menu…don’t get me started on the menu. Boasting soups, salads, sandwiches, and enough baked goods to throw Betty Crocker, Sara Lee and Marie Calendar all into a fit of desert envy, would be more than substantial for a coffee shop. Copper Rock, however, takes it to the next level by offering a great selection of delicious gelato as well. Yum!
- Winner of X Golden Fork awards, Copper Rock has a wide menu that should satisfy any food craving.
- The window area up front has luxurious furniture that will make work feel like a vacation.
- If you need to catch up on work, Copper Rock is open seven days a week, until 10 PM Monday through Thursday and midnight on Friday and Saturday.
- “The Ol’ 9-5” can quickly turn into the 5-9. The five to nine pounds per week that it would be possible to tack on with their menu that is.
Aspen Coffee & Tea
Formerly Brewed Awakenings, Aspen has been a fixture downtown since they moved into their location in 2010. They provide a full lunch menu which includes soups, sandwiches, and have gained notoriety in the Fox Valley for their vegetarian and gluten free menu and bakery items.
In addition to a patio out back, Aspen has a well-designed interior and generous seating. Their window seats put you front and center for all of the action on college ave, yet within just a few feet of electrical outlets if your computer or tablet is running low on juice.
- Fast internet, great coffee and homemade baked goods top the list for this regional franchise’s downtown location.
- For those who might be looking for a quieter coffee shop, Aspen fits the bill without ever appearing empty.
- Their lunch menu is delicious and offers a good variety if you have unique dietary needs.
- Aspen’s cozy, homey atmosphere may make it hard to leave when the friendly employees are ready to get going.
- Also, scientific research shows that if you have even one of Aspen’s homemade Omega cookies, you will not be able to stop.
For those who need the life of the city around them:
Historically, bars have held the distinction of being after-work destinations. But the prevalence of remote workplaces has given rise to people arriving six to eight hours early. The Bar’s downtown location on College Ave is no exception.
One of the Fox Valley’s most popular destinations for Packers, Brewers and, recently, World Cup soccer games, The Bar has a gigantic menu that even includes breakfast. If you are somebody who thrives working in electric social environments, this is a place you need to check out.
- If you’re meeting people from work after you punch out, you don’t have to go anywhere.
- The menu is huge and the food is great! I mean we’re talking about a bar that serves breakfast here. Bar. Breakfast. Still having trouble with that one.
- Your level of focus will need to be next level with the multiple HDTVs lining the walls, and wide view of the Avenue.
- You may be the source of envy for friends and family when you tell them that The Bar is your office.
City Center Plaza
Surround yourself with Appleton by working in the City Center Plaza. You find both free wifi and a variety of dining options (including Mexican, comfort food, and smoothies) in this surprisingly-professional environment.
The businesses that make their offices in the City Center Plaza often have employees working in the center atrium. If being right in the middle of Appleton’s city life is an impetus to your productivity, you will not find more business and more busy-ness than the City Center Plaza.
- Abundant dining options, convenient parking in the Washington Street garage, and a wide-open indoor space make the City Center Plaza a cannot-miss location for the social remote worker.
- Like the name implies, the City Center Plaza is nestled in the heart of downtown, so any lunch meetings either East or West of the galleria are a short walk away.
- The City Center Plaza has public restrooms but they are on the third floor, in the basement and in a break area near the East Wing.
- The number of businesses present in the mall means that the fantastic restaurants present often develop queues around lunch time.
- With a large shoe store, photo shop and stationery outlet, you may find your work day quickly becoming a shopping trip.
Whether you’re looking for pubs, coffee shops or parks, downtown Appleton is uncontested as the best place to spend a day or two remote. The fun and creative spirit meets the driven, professional world of business in a grand way downtown. Your next office is waiting!
Jordan Kapellusch is a content writer at Optimal Digital Marketing. Optimal is a disruptive digital marketing company located at 103 W College Ave that combines online marketing and great looking web design.