Copywriter by day, fashion blogger in my spare time. For more, read me at www.guestsoffashion.wordpress.com
Published February 6th 2014
Telecommuting is taking Australia- and the world- by storm, and that's why I've jotted down a list of the best cafes in Melbourne to actually get work done while out of office. Working from home is tricky at times, with familiar distractions all around, so grab your laptop and head to your new office for the day.
As a copywriter, I'm rather picky, and in order of importance, what to write is closely followed by where to write it. For a cafe to be a productive working spot, there are a bunch of key criteria, including wifi access, lots of table space, great food (or coffee) and the possibility to sit down and work for hours without being politely rushed onwards. The cafes mentioned in this article are all easily accessible by public transport and can be found in and around the city centre. Here's my breakdown of Melbourne's top 'working' cafes:
1. Fitzrovia: Delicious, Varied Menu and Free Wifi
Fitzrovia is a cafe in St Kilda, aptly named after the joint's street (Fitzroy St). This Melbourne venue is frequented by lunchers and brunchers and can get quite busy, but you can make Fizrovia a great 'out of office' workspace if you go at the right time to avoid the rush (typically after 2pm). You can basically sit wherever you want and take advantage of the cafe's free wifi. The menu, obviously the main attraction, changes seasonally and incorporates locally sourced meat and produce. Gluten free options abound and the cakes and patisseries at the entrance will make your mouth water. My favourite main is the Charred Corn, Avocado, Quinoa, Black Eyed Pea and Pomelo Salad, which goes exceptionally well with the wide range of fresh juice blends on offer. Since you pay up front, the staff will let you sit as long as you need to get through those spreadsheets or write your latest article.
Enjoy breakfast options at this cafe until 3pm!
2. Mr Tulk: Great Coffee and Plenty of Space
For CBD dwellers, Mr Tulk is a haven of good food and tasty coffee, right in the heart of the city. Benefiting from a large space filled with bench-style tables, you can soak up the literary atmosphere provided by the cafe's proximity to the State Library of Victoria. Catch an internet signal from the library or Melbourne Central across the street, and you're well on your way. Fresh orange juice is delicious at Mr Tulk and the lattes are second-to-none, rich and with just the right amount of foam. There's plenty of room for your laptop AND books if need be. While there's often a bit of a wait for food and beverages, the experience is worth it.
3. Ibella: Like Your Grandmother's Kitchen
Ibella, a tiny cafe tucked away near the waterfront in Albert Park, is a hidden gem. I discovered the cafe by accident one day, as I aimlessly took the No. 1 Tram (the first that came past my stop) to see where it took me. I had brought my laptop along, as I was hoping to find a spot to get some writing done, but was rather disappointed with the commercial restaurants I discovered paving the way to South Melbourne Beach. Something drew me to Ibella, a block or so away, and I was immediately enticed by the warm, friendly atmosphere and home-cooked food (traditional Italian cuisine!) But best of all, I was shown to the courtyard, a tidy, very zen garden at the back. Here, I sat at a patio table and wrote to my heart's content, interrupted only once to receive my delicious lasagne. While there was no wifi, the calming atmosphere helped get my creative juices flowing and internet usage was futile. Ibella Cafe is also quite affordable for the budget conscious.
4. Starbucks on Collins Street: Heavy Duty Workplace, with Plugs and Open til Late
Well, as an adoptive Melburnian, I feel almost ashamed to add the international coffee giant to the list of best cafes to work in, but there are several points worth mentioning to defend Starbucks' place here. While many privately run joints are wonderful when it comes to atmosphere, finding a power outlet can be a challenge. At Starbucks, you can plug your laptop in for hours and work away, and you won't be fighting with other patrons for the one seat near a power outlet. Free wifi accompanies every purchase, so I recommend you stock up on tea- which tastes roughly the same anywhere. Sit outside at the Starbucks on the corner of Swanston and Collins Street and take in views of the City Square's fountains. This cafe is a great spot to people watch, and what's more inspirational than your fellow man? Plus, the venue is open until midnight, so if you're in it for the long haul, Starbucks makes a great de facto office.
Working away from home? Starbucks offers a great environment.
Working away from the office is rather liberating, but it's easy to get frustrated when the venue you choose slows down your progress. I need the right vibe to do my best work, and the above-mentioned cafes are top-notch when it comes to providing the right working conditions. So next time you work from home, why not try one of these funky cafes in the CBD or inner suburbs?