4 Creative Tips for Working Remotely During Crisis Weather
While working from home is an effective way to avoid dangerous winter travel, sometimes inclement weather leaves telecommuters without power and Internet. Finding WiFi and power for your laptop during this time can be tough. Here are five tried and true WiFi tips that will keep you connected through the storm.
1. Local Coffee Shops
Local coffee shops are the standard go-to when snowed out of power and Internet. You can purchase a beverage and a snack and enjoy a few hours of WiFi. Etiquette will dictate how often you should purchase items in exchange for this privilege, so please be considerate.
Heads up: During storms power outlets can be at a premium. You’re fighting hundreds of other powerless neighbors and even the stranded traveler. If you can think ahead, bring a power strip. You’ll be heralded as a hero and get priority access to the electrical outlet.
2. Grocery Store Cafes and Restaurants
As consumers continue to expect WiFi everywhere, all kinds of stores are popping up with free WiFi, including grocery stores such as Whole Foods, Wegman’s, Martin’s and fast food chains such as McDonald’s and Burger King.
Larger grocery stores often offer a separate cafe area with couches and tables to make it even easier to access the Internet and set up shop for work. Fast food restaurant workers are no longer surprised to see laptops dotting tables.
3. Malls and Shopping Centers
Coffee shops and grocery stores will provide the most comfortable working conditions, but if you’re closest to a shopping center feel free to check it out. Many stores such as Target, Macy’s and Sam’s Club now offer free WiFi, and some offer tables and chairs.
If it’s a big enough store, you can speak with a manager to negotiate a certain amount of time of hassle-free Internet usage. Accommodating a considerate and respectful customer’s wishes is good business in a community experiencing inclement weather.
4. Hotels and Airports
If it’s close by, you might find free WiFi at a nearby hotel or airport. Check your local airport to see if it offers restaurant or comfortable seating options outside the ticketed security check point. You may end up paying a fee for parking and or food or service. Contact your office to see if you can write it off as a business expense.
5. Portable Wifi Devices
You might consider a portable WiFi device if your home is prone to Internet outages. You can secure a device through your cell phone provider, use your cell phone as a hot spot or buy a device such as Karma or FreedomPop. You can also turn to public WiFi maps such as WeFi to locate unexpected Internet sources.
Using any public network means you should exercise precaution. Do so and you can stay productive and accessible, no matter the weather.