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Find Your Space

CAFES AS A HEALTHY ALTERNATIVE TO THE HOME OFFICE


by Marcus Wermuth on September 23, 2019

Working from anywhere sounds great, but where is anywhere? Maybe you work from home, or in a normal office, but want to switch it up! Coworking spaces are an ideal alternative, but not always accessible, especially in suburban and rural regions. On the other hand, a coffee shop can be a great alternative to the home office. Coffee shops seem to be on just about every corner of our cities and neighborhoods. With free Wi-Fi, an energetic and social atmosphere, an endless supply of coffee, and soothing background music, coffee shops have become a mobile office magnet.

If you are lucky enough to work for a company that embraces flexibility in the workplace, maybe you’ll be working at a coffee shop next month – or somewhere else.

 

Cartoon image of cafe used as an alternative workplace

 

Finding a productive work environment can be as simple as plopping down in the nearest Starbucks. Not understanding how to find a suitable workspace can put you in danger of losing focus or getting kicked out of your favorite establishment. In order to be a good citizen and professional when working from a coffee shop, be sure to keep the following in mind.

 

Is the space equipped for remote work?

The most important thing, if you want to work from a specific coffee shop is, to check out the physical set up. If it’s not conducive to work, it’s probably not the right spot for you. 

  • Is there Wi-Fi you can use, or can you use your mobile plan on your phone to create a hotspot?

  • Are electrical outlets available in case your laptop runs out of juice?

  • Is there comfortable seating with table surfaces at an appropriate height for typing?

     

What (and who) is in your background?

Coffee shops can get busy. For video and conference calls, be sure to wear noise-canceling headphones. This helps ensure you won’t disturb others in the coffee shop and will provide better audio for people at the far end.

  • If you’re planning to join a conference call, is your background noise too loud? (Hello, blenders!)

  • Can others see your laptop screen? If so, this can be an information security risk – be sensitive to what you’re sharing publicly. 

  • Be aware of what is located behind you during video calls. Your coworkers don’t need to watch patrons filing in and out of the bathroom during your meeting. 

     

Do they want you there?

How would you feel about a stranger sitting in the cubicle next to you for a few hours, or a few days? Your answer probably depends on their attitude and professionalism. The same is true for you – the staff may want you gone if you don’t follow a few rules of etiquette. 

  • When working from coffee shops, it’s generally a good habit to make regular purchases. Whether it’s a coffee or pastry, don’t just be a lurker. 

  • Is the shop remote worker-friendly? Others before you may have soiled the reputation of remote workers and frown upon you setting up shop for extended periods of time.

  • If you have a favorite coffee shop, don’t be a stranger. Introduce yourself and befriend the baristas. You may be rewarded with the staff remembering your drink next time. 

 

Working from anywhere – including coffee shops – can be a great change of pace. But remember that it’s important to take working from anywhere seriously. At the end of the day, remote work is still work. Regardless of where you are, whether it is the coffee shop next door, your home office or any place else, prepare yourself and take it seriously. And hopefully this can become a routine for you, as you prove to your team and boss, that you are equally productive in the office or any place else.

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