Small business owners and Starbucks working - the rise of the coffee shop as office

The way we work is changing. The days of the traditional office are not yet over, but more and more people are embracing mobile working. Figures from Cisco show that 3 in 5 workers now feel that they don’t need to be in the office to be productive and research by ONS shows that 38% of self-employed people work from different places with home as a base.

Coffee shops are often used as one of these locations. There are many advantages of using these spaces for work but there are some things to look out for too.

The positives

Working from coffee shops offers a lot of benefits, which is why so many people are embracing it:

  • Free wifi : One of the biggest benefits of coffee shop working is the access to wifi. Many places now offer it for free, which gives you the freedom to get out of the house or your office but stay connected.
  • Coffee on tap : 65% of us drink coffee at work for the taste and the boost it gives us. By working in your favourite coffee shop you’ll always have a cup of Joe available and someone else will make it for you and tidy up afterwards.
  • The buzz could help your creativity : Really. A study by the University of Chicago showed that people performed 35% better on creative tasks when there was background noise of about 70 decibels, which is about what you find in the average coffee shop. So if you have tasks that require some creative thinking, it may be a great place to work.

What to watch out for

As with all working environments, there are some things to be aware of. Here are a few tips to make the most from your time:

  • Pick the right coffee shop. Choose one that’s convenient, offers the space and facilities you need and is welcoming. And of course, we think the quality of the coffee is an essential factor too.
  • Make sure your laptop and phone are charged. There’s no guarantee you’ll find a place to plug in and running out of juice is no joke. So be prepared.
  • Choose your seat carefully. Sitting by the door can be distracting and can also mean you’re exposed to changes of temperature every time someone comes in. Give yourself enough room to work and pick a table out of the way. This will also provide some privacy to keep your work confidential.
  • Keep moving. Coffee shop seating isn’t ergonomically designed and you may find that if you sit in the same place all day, you get stiff and sore. Make sure you take breaks, walk around or switch to a new seat every so often. This will help protect your back and body from undue strain.
  • Be mindful of other people. Don’t take up lots of space with all your papers and office paraphernalia, try to keep the volume down on your phone conversations and generally, don’t be that guy. You know the one we mean.
  • Don’t outstay your welcome. If things get really busy or the staff start giving you significant glances, it’s probably time to buy something or head off. As the place fills up and distractions increase, you may find you get less work done anyway, so don’t be afraid to move on.

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