For the last five years, I've focused on trying to develop a career where working remotely would be a strong possibility. My friends and family are scattered all across the US and I want to have the ability to spend some extra time working where they live and visiting with them in the evenings and weekends. The typical two-week vacation schedule that most employers offer, doesn't always cut it when you spend all that time traveling to visit family.
My grandparents have been living (part-time) in Ketchum, ID since 1995 and I try to visit them as often as possible. Ketchum is about a 10 hour drive from Portland, so the last couple of years I've been making the drive out, playing on the weekends and working during the week. My boss seems to be okay with it, as long as I get my work done. And honestly, I'm probably 3 times more efficient out of the office, so my work results tend to be pretty good upon my return.
The key to working remotely is to make sure you have a quiet space that's free from distraction. A lot of people really enjoy working from a coffee shop, but I find that I get too sucked into the social setting and do more people watching than working. The Ketchum Starbucks is also the local visitors center and is full of people at all times of the day. If you need to host a group meeting, however, they have turned an old bank vault into a group meeting space with a large table and walls decorated with old photos of Hemmingway.
I need less distraction than that, so I have found that my favorite place to work in Ketchum is The Community Library.
Started in 1957 by a group of pioneering women and funded by a local thrift store, the Community Library has grown over the years into a building that is easily twice that of the original. Besides your typical row after row of book shelves, the Community Library also has a large computer room (with wifi, of course), a lecture room, audio-visual room and a separate children's library. They also have a Regional History Department where I was able to track down a vintage ski print that I saw hanging in the Pioneer Saloon (and for $100 they had an 11x14" print made and matted by the next day!).
Walk into Ketchum's Community Library and you're (quietly) greeted with friendly smiles and helpful attitudes. The retro lounge chairs, seated in front of a giant fireplace, are tempting to slouch into and dive into a good book, but keep walking past them and you'll find a few secluded tables and desks that are prime working spaces. I chose a small study desk that was in front of a large window overlooking a few birch trees.
With an electrical outlet nearby, standard library silence and sun light shining through on me, I was able to work happily and uninterrupted for hours. At one point I needed to hop on a conference call and one of the front desk employees kindly escorted me to a small, sound-proof "typing" room, where I was able to access wifi on my laptop and talk as loudly as I wanted without disturbing any of the other visitors.
Everything I needed to complete a full day of work was found at the Community Library. Even lunch and coffee breaks were easily accessible and within walking distance. Armed with my ideal distraction-free environment and fast internet, the Community Library proved to be my most powerful tool to successfully work remotely in Ketchum, ID.
Now after a hard day's work, head over to the Sawtooth Brewery and enjoy one of Ketchum's best micro-brews!