If you work from home or are starting a virtual business, office space may not be at the top of your list. As a new mom, I take advantage of not having to get dressed in full business attire every morning.
I also try to avoid scheduling face-to-face meetings when possible. It’s part of the convenience of running a remote digital business.
But most of us will need office space every now and then. There could be numerous reasons why it’s convenient to occasionally work outside of your bubble.
Some will outgrow your home office or working space, especially if you have to maintain hard documents. Others may need to see clients who prefer a traditional business experience. In that case you need a safe, neutral place to meet up.
Office space for a day may also be a much-needed escape from spouses or children. Your productivity may depend on it.
Solopreneurs and startups benefit from not adding rent to your overhead, especially in the beginning.
So you need to choose an affordable meeting spot with no obligations.
1. Co-working space
These are the new trend as more and more continue to spring up around the city.
Co-working spaces are more than just a place where several businesses share working environments. They also pool together resources and ideas to empower each other.
Another benefit of co-working spaces is that most offer several different ways to operate your business in their facility. These options can accommodate the different levels of your business as you grow.
You could have a complete office or just have your business mail directed there along with using the place for your business address.
Many co-working spaces allow prospective clients to try out their office and services for a day.
If you like the space, you may consider making it your permanent office space. If not, at least you solved your meeting problem for that occurrence.
2. Coffee house
This is the go-to for meetings. Some call it an old, overuse and tire option. But “if it ain’t broke”, why fix it? Coffee shops are everywhere, they’re public and they are easy to find. Plus, most of them have free WiFi.
It makes a great setup for a quick meeting or a few hours of work, depending on what you have to get accomplished.
They may not work best if you need more privacy or need to discuss sensitive details such as financials.
Depending on the time of day, the noise levels might not be suitable either.
None of that was ever a problem for me. It was the smell of coffee that lingered long past the meeting and the coffee house visit.
Still, if it gets you a check or closer to accomplishing dreams and goals, then a little complimentary inconvenience won’t hurt.
A café is another fairly common meeting spot that won’t cost you a dime. Cafés are small and intimate, and they may even be less crowded than a coffee house.
Many of them offer WiFi to their customers too.
As a courtesy, you should purchase something when meeting at a coffee shop or café. Tossing back a drink may not distract you much. Smearing food on your contract (or phone if you’re paperless like me) is another story.
Try getting to the café at least a half hour early. That way you can patronize the business and then stick around for your meeting.
4. Public libraries
You won’t find the noise police hanging over your shoulder like they used to.
Libraries are changing.
Just remember it’s a peaceful environment that’s conducive to learning.
But many public libraries have different floors and sections that each have a different ambiance.
For instance, there was a small room with tables on the first floor. I used to go there and work on assignments. It gave me a different scenery to get my creative juices flowing.
The room had large glass windows that let the sunlight in on beautiful days.
Upper floors of some libraries also have setups similar to conference rooms.
Either of these areas would do to work on a project or have a small meeting. It won’t cost you anything out of pocket either.
5. Public parks
At the right time and in the right place, a park can do the trick for an out-of-the-house meeting. I live in one of the rainiest U.S. cities and I can still catch a good day or three at a public park.
The key is making sure it’s not sweltering heat on those days.
Make sure your client is an outside person too before setting this location in stone.
Once your confirm the park, find a covered table and gather your thoughts for a productive meeting with lovely surroundings.
6. Hotel lobby
This works well at larger hotels that are used to frequent visitors. Some lodgings have conferences and conventions.
Even when they’re not busy with that, they have other services going on that allow in and out traffic.
7. Apartment cyber café
If you live at the apartment, especially a fairly new one, you won’t have to go far from home to have your meeting.
Avoid bringing clients and prospects into your home by meeting in the cyber café.
You can take advantage of their WiFi, free beverages and a comfy area for you and your guest.
They won’t even have to go cruising through your complex to meet with you. Most of these areas are in the same place as the leasing office, which is normally at the front of the property.
8. Friend’s office
Most people in my circle are at least part-time business owners. Some of them have office space or a building they own or rent.
If it’s just for an occasional few hours, your friend may not mind you using their space to conduct business.
It won’t hurt to ask, and if they want to see you win, that’s the easiest way to support you.
And it won’t cost them a thing.
Next time you need a meeting space to work-from-home away from home, just ask. After all, that’s what friends are for.
9. Video Conference
If you don’t have paperwork or money to exchange, you personal contact isn’t a must. Try to convince your client to have a virtual meeting.
You can still have a face-to-face discussion without altering much about your routine.
Video conferencing is also a great option for remote clients. No matter how near or far they are, you can reach them by video if they insist on having a meeting.
Some popular tried-and-true options are:
10. Conference Call
Conference calls are regular old phone calls scheduled for a certain day and time. It gives you and the client or business partners a chance to plan a specific agenda for your discussion.
If you need to squeeze in a meeting, this option isn’t too outdated to get things accomplished for your digital business.
Think outside your work-from-home box
It may take some brainstorming, but setting up a meeting is possible. You accomplish whatever you need to without blowing your business budget.
Think about what you want or need to do with your meeting space. Go with the option that accommodates your client and achieves your goals.
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