Ragan.com by remote: Coffee shop, food court or a cube?

Bad bandwidth, obligatory bagels and a brusque barista make for less-than-ideal telecommuting circumstances.

When my CEO mandated Ragan.com’s Editorial Department work from home for a week, I had big dreams. I imagined myself sitting around in comfy PJs, catching up on all my work and even getting ahead. How productive I would be! A machine, in all likelihood.

Then Monday came, and I hit a wall. I had been sidelined with a cold that weekend and had canceled all my plans. By the time Monday rolled around, I had to get out. Cabin fever had already set in. This was going to be a long week.

I gathered my laptop and headed to a coffee shop down the street. WIRELESS blazed across the window. In I went.

Cue the angels. It was filled with people! People I could potentially talk to when I needed to scratch my itch for human interaction.

Plus, the place was packed with tables, chairs and couches of various shapes and sizes. Plaids, solids—you name it. A furniture bonanza, if you will.

I chose my spot, ordered a cup of tea and a bagel and booted up my laptop. Then I realized, although it advertised “wireless,” I had to enter a password. I walked up to the counter and asked a 23-year-old sporting a blue hoodie for help. He handed me a business card imprinted with a code and said it was good for two hours. I glanced up.

“What happens if you need wireless for more than two hours?”

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