Coffee shops have always been popular with freelancers as they provide an interesting workspace with caffeine on tap. Unlike shared office spaces, coffee shops provide endless variety – you never know who is going to be in or which table you can sit at. Coffee shops are also a bit more relaxed since lots of people are there simply to socialize.
While working at home is free and means that you can have access to everything you need, it isn’t always the best way to work. If you are a social person, being on your own for a long stretch of time can have a huge negative impact on your emotional wellbeing. Similarly, being on your own means that you may be more susceptible to distractions. Deciding to put a quick wash in the machine, clean the kitchen and tidy your living space might be fulfilling, but it’s not what you are supposed to be doing!
Working at a coffee shop is a perfect balance between casual working and escaping the confines of your home. In fact, your ability to work anywhere is one of the main benefits of being a versatile freelancer.
Many coffee shops have been designed to appeal to freelancers looking for a different space to work in. But before you race out of the front door, it is worth doing a little bit of preparation and research first.
You will need to know the etiquette expected of working in a coffee shop and consider a few different options too.
Know the Etiquette
Coffee shops have different rules and will expect a certain etiquette from their patrons. While some will welcome you and allow you to sit and work all day, others would prefer that you drink up and move on. Knowing the difference between the two is really important. You don’t want to offend a coffee shop by overstaying your welcome!
First, you should always ask the barista if it’s okay for you to work in their establishment. This is the polite thing to do and while most will simply say yes, be prepared to accept ‘no’ for an answer and move on. If they do say yes, it is further good etiquette to get to know the baristas, especially if you plan to make this particular coffee shop a regular haunt. Asking their names (and remembering them!) is the least you can do.
Another thing to remember is that table hogging can have a big impact on any coffee shop’s revenue. If it’s particularly busy with people eating lunch, it’s the polite thing to return later on.
You should also be sure to buy drinks during your stay and a meal if you are staying for a while. One drink every 1.5 hours plus a meal halfway through is a good strategy to stick by.
Basically, if you want your favourite coffee shop to survive, you need to make sure you are contributing to their profits.
Similarly, you should consider adding a little to your tip – especially if you have a good rapport going.
Scooching up and allowing others to share your table will also help. Coffee shops are actually great places for meeting new people and you would be surprised by how many other freelancers you could meet this way.
Offering to share your table is a kind thing to do and telling the barista that you are happy to do so is a good idea – this way, when the shop gets busy, they know where to seat new arrivals.
Packing What You Need into a Single Bag
Working at a regular desk has one major advantage: all your stuff is already there. But if you want to spread your wings, you need to slimline your requirements. Working with an iPad is a great option as it is lighter than a regular laptop.
If you need to work with a second screen but you don’t want to take over the entire coffee shop, you can connect your iPad to a laptop and use an Apple pencil too using sidecar.
You can learn how to use sidecar in catalina quite quickly and once you know how to do it, this will probably change how you work at home too.
It’s crucial that you have a good rucksack to take all your necessities with you so that your back is supported while you walk and your things are protected.
Since freelancing has risen in popularity, there are now far more professional backpacks to choose from, so you don’t need to worry about looking like you are on your way to school!
Some of the best rucksacks come with separate compartments for your laptop so that it isn’t jostling with the rest of your stuff and forms a comfortable solid back while you walk.
Still, you should reduce the amount of stuff you take to the bare minimum for your comfort and so you don’t take over the whole coffee shop!
Taking only what you need is actually a good way to set a goal for the day and focus on that task. Lots of freelancers like going to coffee shops to do admin work and sort out a number of small tasks that require only a laptop.
The key thing to remember is that a coffee shop is not the place to work on confidential material or to make long phone calls. You need to protect your privacy and you don’t want to irritate your neighbours at the next table.
Choosing the Perfect Coffee Shop for You
Working in a coffee shop is obviously more expensive than working from home so, just as you would look at the pros and cons of a co-working space, you should pick out the best coffee shops for your needs. It’s a good idea to have a couple of places on your regular list so that if one is busy, you know just where to go next.
The right coffee shop can provide all the inspiration and motivation you need. Everything from the interior decoration to the lights can make a big difference so allow yourself to be on the picky side.
The right table height and more ergonomic chairs are always worth searching for.
Choosing a different shop to match your mood is a good way to keep motivated. It’s also a good way to avoid overstaying your welcome at a particular place.
If you have a small network of other freelancers, it is also worth considering a coffee shop you can all work in. Meeting up is a good way to socialize while you work and you’ll probably be more productive as a result (depending, of course, on who you are with).
Meeting up with a group might require a larger coffee shop so that you can find a communal table. If you plan to meet regularly, it might even be worth discussing your plans with the coffee shop owners to see if they can accommodate you.
Working in a coffee shop is the best way to stay focused, get out of your solitary existence at home and socialize. Just being in a busy environment can help to motivate you to do more and stay focused.
Throw in a couple of friends and some casual conversation and you never know what sort of creative ideas you might come up with. Even if you are working on different things, having someone else there to talk to can be really beneficial.
So, now you know, it’s time to go out into your local neighbourhood and find the best places to set up your laptop, drink coffee and work.
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How often do you leave your home office and head out to a coffee shop to work?