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Working from a Coffee Shop - the ground rules

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by Startacus Admin

coffee shop workingIt’s virtually impossible not to walk into any coffee shop these days without seeing someone sitting there, frantically working away on their laptop or notebook. The free wi-fi, the fresh coffee and of course none of the usual home distractions make the coffee shop a perfect alternative office for many of us. But if you have ever actually tried working in your local coffee shop, you’ll know that it’s not always that easy to be productive and being there may actually not serve the purpose you want.

Working from a coffee shop can be a minefield of social pitfalls, but if you follow these simple tips you should have too many problems!

Choose your coffee shop wisely
Whilst some coffee shops openly welcome freelancers and workers occupying their seats, there are others that don’t. If you are planning to work in the coffee shop for a few hours, then make sure you choose a freelancer-friendly one. And on that note be respectful. Be friendly and personable to the baristas - it’s their permanent workplace after all. Also, don’t be one of those freeloading types who orders 1 coffee and sits there 3 hours later over the same cup. The coffee shop owner is trying to make money too. Order a few drinks over the period you’re there - and some food too if you’re planning on staying a while. Also, some coffee shops have more of a “buzz about them than others - choose the one that helps you get in that creative mindset.

Plan your time
Before you go to the coffee shop, make sure you know what you’ll be doing. Write a to do list or use an app like Evernote to schedule all the things you need to do that day. It might sound pretty boring to be so methodical like this, but if you are serious about getting stuff done, it’s your best option. At least then, once you’re there you can get started straight away - well after your first caffeine hit of the day of course. Set yourself goals for when you are there ( boring but necessary) and maybe reward yourself once you achieve them. Bet that carrot cake would taste much nicer once you’ve actually done something you know.

Control Distractions
In any typical coffee shop, there are plenty of things to distract you from the job at hand, whether that be people watching, the background noise of the coffee machine or maybe another customer at a nearby table looking for a chat. If that type of things distracts you, then make sure you bring your headphones and listen to music or whatever helps you stay productive. Apart from your surroundings, email and social media can prove to be even bigger distractions. As soon as you start working, close down your Facebook and Twitter accounts and log off your email. Otherwise, the minutes and then hours will pass and you’ll have nothing really to show for your time, apart from maybe liking a friend’s holiday pic or laughing at a new Lolcat image somebody has posted on Twitter.

Be prepared for Tech Fails
We’ve all become so accustomed to using our phones and laptops everywhere that when they let us down, it’s almost like a national crisis has happened. If you’re in a coffee shop and their wi-fi stops working, your battery dies or your mobile network has a service outage, what do you do? Well, regarding the wi-fi, you can always try another coffee shop, I suppose. However, why not think back to the pre- tech days. Yes, use pen and paper. Have a jotter and pen at the ready ( or maybe a nice moleskin notebook ) if you’re looking to impress. You might not get everything you wanted done, but you can still make notes, lists and plans. The time doesn’t have to be wasted.

If you are a fan of working in coffee shops you mighte be interested to have a look at coffitivity- a new app that recreates the counds of a coffee shop in the hope of boosting your creativity

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Published on: 22nd July 2012

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