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Keys-NashvilleIf you are seeking meeting space outside a traditional office, you know the traditional options are Starbucks, Panera, or some local coffee shop. Those are okay places, but they’re typically crawling with people and you smell like coffee when you leave.

So what are other viable no-cost meeting space options for work at home professionals?

Yesterday, Barrett and I wound up meeting at a secondary food court in a mall for a change in venue. It was open, quiet, and very pleasant – if you ignored the major butt crack moment on the women cleaning the window at Loft.

10 Meeting Spaces for Work at Home Professionals Other than Starbucks

Our great meeting experience at the mall prompted this top ten list of informal meeting spaces. All are low or no-cost, low-traffic, easily accessible, and typically smell free!

1. Hotel Lobbies

Lobbies, especially for convention-oriented hotels, are great for finding open meeting areas. They work well for extended meetings since you do not look conspicuous as freeloaders amid the routine convention traffic.

2. Libraries

Library card holders can generally get access to community and study rooms with whiteboards and doors you can close for some privacy.

3. Self-Serve Restaurants at Off Hours

Check self-serve restaurants with good Wi-Fi as prime locations for off hours meetings. With a self-serve place, you can typically linger longer since wait staff aren’t trying to move you along. Increasingly, grocery stores are an option in this category.

4. Museums

Lobbies, restaurants, and galleries inside museums can all be strong creative meeting space options. An annual membership may get you free parking, food and beverage discounts, and access to a dedicated meeting room.

5. Multi-tenant office building lobbies

Major office buildings often have plenty of accessible room in the lobby that works for informal meet and greets. If this is a route you want to go, scout the location ahead of time to see how it will work before booking a meeting.

6. Convention centers

A metro convention center generally features a variety of readily available small lobbies and gathering areas if the venue is open and not completely filled with conventioneers.

7. Universities

If you can get past the pesky parking issues, universities offer multiple meeting spots, including lobbies, restaurants, conference facilities, and dedicated meeting rooms.

8. Outdoor spaces

This option obviously depends on where you are, but who didn’t want to go have class outside in school? It’s still a decent option for grown up business meetings.

9. Friends with Offices

Not exactly “friends with benefits,” but friends with offices might let you use them for an occasional meeting, perhaps with a trade-out for something you can do for them in return.

10. Presentation Rooms after Presentations

Presentation meeting rooms are often booked longer than the presentation to allow for clean-up time. If you’re at an event, check with the meeting organizer to see if you can have an informal meeting immediately after a session is over.

Where else do work at home professionals find alternative meeting spaces?

I’d love to add your ideas to the list. Where do you find great meeting spaces that make you smell like a Starbucks three hours later? – Mike Brown

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Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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14 Responses to “10 Meeting Spaces for Work at Home Professionals, Other than Starbucks”

  1. Mike Brown says:

    From friend Robert Alan Black:

    Mike

    Just having fun with this

    Bowling alleys
    Pool Halls
    Bars
    sandwich shops
    bookstores with coffee shops inside of them
    parks
    forests
    pool areas at apartment complexes
    libraries
    noisy cafeterias (use to in college at an engineering school I attended in the 60s)

    thanks for sharing this info.

  2. Sheree Johnson says:

    Mike, thanks for this, getting tired of Starbuck’s and Panera’s, some great ideas. One idea I used once and will again (when available) is an association’s office space/conference room.Specifically, I’m a member/on the board of AAF-KC and when I needed to meet downtown with more than one person, I checked to see if I could meet there, It was a perfect location and has Wifi — other associations/clubs with an office might allow members to do the same thing.

    • Mike Brown says:

      That’s one I hadn’t thought of specifically, Sheree, that extends the definition on “friends with offices.” So many associations are virtual, that hadn’t occurred to me.

  3. Jennifer S Nelson says:

    Great ideas Mike! Ya know what, I think sometimes even folks in large corporations with conference rooms should do this for some meetings — different views, different energy, different way to see the world could do some good.

  4. Joan Katsareas says:

    How about church halls or afiliated meeting spaces as well as schools and community colleges? It may of course depend on the time of day and whether or not other activities are already going on.Also train station areas might be available even if not entirely quiet. Great blog and posts!

  5. Dodie Jacobi says:

    Many co working spaces have a drop in rate by the hour for workstation or conference room, and they re super affordable. KC based Think Big Coworking charges only $15 for station, $35 for conference space per hour. Maybe cheaper than faking consumption in another spot.

  6. Rachel says:

    Community centers, independently owned coffee shops (try off hours – no good meeting takes place at a coffee shop during peak hours). Check with local small business orgs such as SBDC to see if they have a space you can use. Also look at collaborative work spaces – many rent conference rooms by the hour which is great for bigger meetings. In my city, the first floor of City Hall makes for a great space for one on one meetings. There’s a huge atrium with tables, a coffee shop and free (although sometimes unreliable) wi-fi.

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