Regardless of how lovely your accommodation is when you travel for business, sometimes you just want to get out of your room and immerse yourself in your surroundings. This can be problematic if you actually need to get some work done. There is a simple solution – pack up your laptop and find a great local spot to set-up your “remote office”. It could be a café, business centre, or even the library. Here are some of Canberra’s hottest places to work remotely when you’re in town:
You are spoilt for choice for cafes in Canberra, but some cafes are more conducive to work than others. The best cafes to work from are quiet and have space (and of course serve great coffee!). Most cafes have a peak time, e.g. first thing in the morning, or at lunch time. Try to work around these times and utilise them mid-morning or after lunch. Make sure you don’t overstay your welcome by ordering at least one coffee or something to eat and be friendly to the wait-staff.
Whilst this café has a lovely open-plan layout that encourages a sense of community (and is great for people-watching), it is still possible to find your own little nook to while away the hours with your computer and coffee. This is a particularly nice place to work on a sunny day, but there are plenty of indoor tables if it’s fresh outside. There’s ample parking under nearby Manuka Terrace, and of course you can’t beat ONA coffee!
The National Library is a fantastic place to work from itself (more on that below), but if you’re in need of some refreshment while you’re working, you can’t beat Bookplate. The food is sensational - with a focus on local produce - especially when combined with a glass of vino from their interesting wine list, a boutique beer, or a delicious coffee. The walls of the café are lined with Leonard French’s famous stained glass windows – a stunning feature that warrants a visit on its own. Bookplate is also a central location to meet business colleagues or catch up with friends when you are in town. There is also convenient paid parking outside. If you’re feeling energetic you could also take a quick stroll around the Lake to walk off your lunch. Bookplate opens from 7.30am-2pm on weekdays and 9am-2.30pm on weekends.
If you’re staying in Civic, the Canberra Centre has an endless choice of cafes. Xpresso Bar’s ONA coffee will hit the spot, as will their selection of sweet treats and pastries. The refurbished food court has a great vibe – lots of intimate seating areas where you could set up and spend the whole day without the pressure of paying your way with food and drink. Although it will be hard to resist the diverse selection of food options surrounding you!
Northsiders love Two Before Ten’s fresh selection of seasonal dishes that focus on locally sourced ingredients from local producers such as Three Mills Bakery, Fig Tree Farm and Allsun Farm, as well as their onsite ‘Aranda Garden’. The café is based at the old Aranda shops site on Bandjalong Crescent, and has turned a previously derelict building into a community hub. There is plenty of space to set up your remote office digs, as well as ample free parking. Open from 7am-4pm weekdays and 8am-2pm weekends.
This cosy little café is located at the Kippax shops. It is separate from the shopping centre, which is great for minimising noise and distractions when you’re trying to get some work done. It has a loyal following of retirees who meet for morning tea (a good sign!), but there is enough space to always get a table. It is a cosy spot to retreat to on a winter’s day, but there are also outdoor tables to enjoy the sunshine at on warmer days.
There are ten public libraries in the ACT, as well as the National Library. Depending on where you are staying, these libraries are a wonderful base to work from. Most are located close to shops and cafes, so it’s easy to pop out and grab a bite to eat or get some fresh air. Whilst all libraries have parking close by, you will need to pay for parking at some libraries, such as Civic and Dickson. Libraries in other areas, such as Kippax and Erindale have free parking outside. The libraries offer free Wi-Fi and have toilets and often a water cooler, so are a comfortable base.
The National Library is a treat to work from. The reading rooms are modern, comfortable and quiet (unlike some of the public libraries, which also offer programs for children on certain days of the week). There are also two cafes onsite (Bookplate and Paperplate) that you can pop to for refreshments. If you need a bit of inspiration, the National Library Bookshop is well worth a visit as it has a comprehensive range of Australian fiction, non-fiction and children’s literature titles.
Business centres are a great option if you want to work with colleagues, meet with clients, or simply want a workspace where you can work alongside other professionals. Companies such as Regus offer a number of office space options for lease, such as co-working offices, bookable meeting rooms, and business lounges. These options can be leased for the day, or longer periods of time to suit your business requirements. Regus have a number of offices available in various buildings around Canberra, so it is easy to find a space in a convenient location. Business centres are more expensive than working from a café or library, but are generally reasonably priced, centrally located, clean and often have tea/coffee making facilities.
Café, library or business centre - you are spoilt for choice for remote working options in Canberra. The best thing you can do is get out and explore, and remotely work your way around this beautiful city.