I have lots of friends that say they couldn’t live without their internet, cable, or iPhone. But for me, it’s true. I work full-time from home for a Fortune 100 company. We are a tech giant in Silicon Valley. I spend the day on conference calls, primarily from my cell phone or my VOIP phone that’s connected to my home internet. I spend hours online in our company’s systems. If my email isn’t open on my laptop, it’s open on my iPhone.
My work day is a well oiled machine of meetings via conference call or web meetings, instant collaboration via chat rooms, email, and productive time to work on my projects. All of it requires a huge dependency on tech. If my laptop is broken, if my internet is down, if my smart phone is suddenly not-so-smart, then my ability to get my work accomplished is put in jeopardy.
This week, after a very long and frustrating ordeal with our current internet provider, I decided to fire my home internet and start fresh with a new company. That meant having to “work from home” in a coffee shop, the library, or someplace that offers free internet until I figure out what other new company I will hire to be my internet provider. I know there are lots of people work from a coffee shop every day for whatever personal reason.
After three days in Starbucks, I am in awe of anyone who can work there and actually get anything accomplished. The constant noise from the espresso machine is enough to drive me insane. Add in a sprinkling of a mom’s group, retirees, and out of work folks who just want human interaction and my local Starbucks is a hopping place in during the day. There’s a constant flow of people (and their loud and not always appropriate for public) conversations until lunch time.
And don’t get me started on trying to take a conference call from there. I tried yesterday during the morning rush. BIG MISTAKE. I had naively thought that I could just put on my headset, place myself on mute, and no one would be the wiser. Too bad every question asked on the call was fielded in my direction. I had to apologize more than once to my team for the noise in the background. It was embarrassing, unprofessional, and something I will never do again.
I tried Peet’s Coffee today. While the place was quiet as a mouse, it was for a valid reason. Peet’s gives you one hour of free internet with a purchase. I like that this meant there were plenty of empty table to pick from. I didn’t like that a day of internet at Peet’s would cost nearly $25. I don’t like their coffee enough to want to drink eight cups for free internet.
I would love to work from our local library with a quaint little coffee kiosk, but the city of San Jose has decimated the library staff and hours thanks to budget cuts. Our closest library is only open three weekdays and Saturdays starting at Noon.
So on Day 3 of my home internet walk-out, I’m in desperate search of a place to work where I can actually work. Or I’m going to have to be forced to get out of my yoga pants and Uggs to (gasp) go work in the office.