The 7 Worst Places to do Work as a Digital Nomad

Meet Gregory, a writer and the brains behind Face Dragons. He's the go-to guy for getting things done. Gregory's been living the digital nomad life in Asia for as long as anyone can remember, helping clients smash their goals. He writes on topics like software, personal knowledge management (PKM), and personal development. When he's not writing, you'll catch him at the local MMA gym, nose buried in a book, or just chilling with the family.

I recently asked the question What Are the Best Places to Do Remote Work? And needed to write this follow up to show the places to avoid if you want to get some work done. These are the worst places to do work as a digital nomad.


Beach is the worst place to work

It wasn’t long ago that working on a beach with a laptop or mobile phone was reserved for millionaires only. Now that digital nomdism has gone mainstream, almost anyone can work from the beach. You might not want to though. If I don’t convince you, maybe Kelly will with her post Working on the Beach as a Digital Nomad is Not as Good as it Sounds.

Why the Beach is the Worst Place to Work

  • Sand – It gets everywhere, between your laptop keys inside your phone case, and changing a lens at the beach can be more like a surgical operation than a creative artistic endeavor.
  • Power – I hope you have big batteries because unless you have a solar charger you aren’t charging anything at the beach.
  • Wifi – When you have a different SIM card in your phone every few months, it’s easy to find yourself with no data. At the beach you’ll be wifiless too.
  • Tide – “The tide is waaay out there, there’s no way it’s going to reach me here” – famous last words of a digital nomad with a water logged laptop.

A Better Alternative

Further back from the beach you can usually find cafes, beach bars, ice-cream parlors etc. With tables and chairs, away from the tide and sand and with power and wifi, (or at least shade) they make a much better place to work.


Don't work in a restaurant

It makes perfect sense, right? Somewhere to sit, table space and you can even order food and drink while you work. But a restaurant might not be the perfect place to get work done after all.

Why a Restaurant is the Worst Place to Work

  • The owner – If you’ve been sat at his best table for three hours and only ordered french fries, he doesn’t like you.
  • Closing Time – Restaurants often close for a few hours after lunch, depending where you are.
  • Power – Most restaurants will charge something for you while you eat but probably wont have plugs by your table.

A Better Alternative

If you really want to eat while you work, look for a fast food place. Most are open all hours and wont bother you if you sit there all day.


A Bar is the worst place to work

I get it! You want to get out of the rain, the open door and soft lighting are really inviting but if you want to get work done a bar shouldn’t be your first choice.

Why a Bar is the Worst Place to Work

  • Alcohol – It’s unlikely to help your work
  • Drunk People – Ever been the “sober one?” Being the “sober one who’s trying to work” is worse!
  • Music – Music isn’t always distracting, it depends what they’re playing.

A Better Alternative

If it’s late and the cafes are all closing, find a nice hotel rather than a bar, order a drink and sit in the lobby to get some work done in a much more suitable environment.


You can't work on a bus

It’s down time. You have to travel anyway so why not get some work done while you’re on board? Unless you have an iron stomach and laser like focus, catching some z’s will be better than trying to work on a bus.

Why a Bus is the Worst Place to Work

  • Travel Sickness – Much worse on a bus than a train
  • Distracting People – Do people looking over your shoulder bother you too?
  • No space – I like to spread out, notebooks, laptop, tablet. Hard to do that on a crowded bus/train.

A Better Alternative

Rather than doing some shoddy work on the bus and arriving tired, sleep on the bus and do some focused work when you arrive.

Where you play

Don't mix work and play

Your mind associates certain places with certain activities. Ever notice it’s really hard to do yoga in the living room but it feels natural when you’re in the studio? That’s because your body associates the living room with watching TV on the couch, not sweating on the mat. Don’t work where you play.

Why Your Fun Spot is the Worst Place to Work

  • Video Games – That controller is sitting there flashing, calling you!
  • TV/Streaming – Once you’re on that sofa it’s hard not to watch Netflix
  • Check Socials – It’s so easy to do without even realizing
  • Watch YouTube – Anything with infinite scroll is dangerous.

A Better Alternative

The dining room table, the attic, the garden, anywhere you don’t normally consume media or scroll socials.


Your bed is the worst place to work

If you’ve ever fallen asleep after reading just one paragraph, you can understand this. Working in bed will not only ruin your work because your body thinks it should be sleeping. It’ll ruin your sleep too because it will think it’s time to work.

Why Bed is the Worst Place to Work

  • Falling Asleep – When you get into bed, your body automatically goes into sleep mode
  • Uncomfortable – I don’t know about you but getting comfortable with a laptop on a bed isn’t as easy as it seemed for Carrie in Sex in the City.
  • Other distractions in your bedroom – I’m sure you have some

A Better Alternative

If you’re confined to a bedroom, rather than working on your bed, sit on the floor leaning up against your bed. Once you’re comfortable you’ll find it much more productive than working on the bed trying not to fall asleep.

Field, Meadow or Woods

Don't work in the countryside

I can see the appeal, get away from everything, no distractions and no one to bother you. Occasionally going out into the countryside to do some focused work is a great idea but I don’t recommend it for regular working sessions.

Why the Countryside is the Worst Place to Work

  • Weather – You can’t hide from the rain when you’re in a meadow
  • No Power/Wifi – Obviously
  • Animals – Although, a charging bull is a good reason to finish up a dull conference call

A Better Alternative

If you want some nature and to get away from it all, find a good campsite nearby. You’ll have access to power and wifi (and toilets!!) and can still find the peace and quiet you desire.


The mall is the worst place to work

Malls are purposefully designed to keep you walking around and keep you spending, the last thing a mall designer wants to do is to create a space for someone to make well thought out decisions. Malls therefore are full of distractions to anyone wanting to get work done.

Why the Mall is the Worst Place to Work

  • Distracting People – I don’t know why but people walking passed is distracting
  • Temptation to shop – There’s too many things that are more interesting than working in the mall.
  • Temptation to Go Eat – The food court has everything! Can you resist a sample?

A Better Alternative

If I’m in the mall and need to get some work done, I just make a beeline straight for the nearest cafe, be sure to take some noise cancelling headphones just in case!

There we have it! 7 places to avoid at all costs if you need to be productive. Do you agree? Do you have anywhere to add to the list? Let me know in the comments below