Tuesday, March 1, 2011

I'm Lovin' It

I have a pretty nice office. I work on a floor that is wide open space with tons of cubicles mazes dividing it - a typical corporate office - but the atmosphere is hushed, calm and productive. Like a library, which weirdly enough is comforting to me. There's large windows, and sunlight streams in and on stormy days, the office takes on a cozy "we're all in here together" hush.. The windows themselves are a step up from my last working environment, a former storage room in the basement of a 1950s gym converted to an academic building. We often joked about painting a mural of a beach scene on the white painted cement walls, or about how prepared we felt for a tornado raid in our enclosed little space. It was often noisy and interruptions from students and visitors were common. In full transparency, I am certain that I provided the interruptions as much as receiving them. I liked my coworkers, and it wasn't unusual for us to sit around with our feet propped up on the desk discussing anything from our work to our lives to our depressing office walls. But still. It wasn't, as far as office spaces go, what you'd call ideal. So, I like my office and I find that, even for a corporate setting, it's a pretty nice place for Getting Things Done.

But I also try to leave it, at least once a day. My day is scheduled out from the minute I walk in the door to the minute I shut down the computer, because I'm making a series of prescheduled phone calls all day. As such, the days go by pretty quickly but I've learned if I don't walk away from my computer for the time I have designated for lunch, there's a good chance I might not get up all day. That's not good for the soul, and it's certainly not good for my booty. So I try to leave once a day.

But where to go? When it's nice out, I'll often take a book and go lie down in a grassy area and read. When it's raining, sometimes a car nap. But what I really wanted was a lounge. I wanted to take my ipad and write "personal emails" on my break, or catch up on my blog friends life, or scroll mindlessly through Twitter status. I wanted the white noise of chatter around me, I wanted comfy seats, I wanted sunlight. I wanted someplace where I could disconnect from work for just long enough to come back recharged. I'm not too picky am I?

I resorted to going to Panera and Starbucks quite a bit, because they satisfied these demands. However, that comes at a cost. I usually pack my lunch, so I'm not concerned with eating, but I quickly found my tomato soup addiction at Panera too great to overcome. And Starbucks is, well, Starbucks. While the gold card in my wallet speaks to my addiction, I do (surprisingly) try to moderate my visits for the sake of my wallet, my caffeine intake and my wallet.

I did a google search for free wifi and found some interesting options. A few hotels nearby... could I sit in their lounge and pretend to be a patron? The local library... a perfect option, but we all know how I am in libraries, and a bit too far away. Sheetz gas station? Interesting... but where to sit?

It was a coupon that brought me to my new lunch time respite. A buy one, get one coupon. Buy one fruit smoothie, get a free frappe. Interesting. I decided to give it a whirl, though my hopes weren't very high.

Turns out? I'm loving it.

Comfy seats. Big windows. Cheap coffee. Free wifi. A comfortable amount of other teleworkers with laptops propped up. A little bit noisy but still, surprisingly quiet. Who would have thought?

1 comment:

Jamie said...

The funny thing is I remember doing a case study on McCafe's in my marketing analysis class in college. We all came to the conclusion that no matter how they try to spin it, real coffee lovers will not appreciate the McDonald's environment as they sip their cup of joe. Somehow the thought of children screaming and playing in the Playplace didn't match with those trying to escape their work scene and enjoy a few minutes of private time. Well, I guess none of us took into account the economy was going to go belly up and people were willing to seek out others venues to scratch their $4 coffee itch. A lot of the McCafe's are nice - most of the time I go through the drive thru and park to take advantage of the wi-fi just in case I decide I want that power nap after all.