There’s something energizing about working remotely from a cafe. The aromas of coffee and baked goods waft through the air. Writers wearing headphones pound away on laptops. You have unlimited free WiFi and soft background music. There’s plenty of space and soft conversation surrounds you. A cafe is a really great place to work, especially for remote workers who are tired of working at home.
Many variables are at play when it comes to finding the perfect cafe. Look for these factors that can make or break a remote working environment. Additionally, make sure you follow some basic guidelines to be an ideal cafe coworker.
Good WiFi: Productive remote work depends on reliable internet access. WiFi should be fast, free, and easy to access. Some cafes manage access with a password that changes periodically. Some require an email address or accepting terms of service. Occasionally, some cafes (like Panera) even set a time limit. These inconveniences disrupt work, so make sure you’re aware of the rules and limits when choosing a remote workspace.
Power outlets: Nothing disrupts your workflow like a dead laptop battery. Look for a space with plentiful electrical outlets to keep your work going. Without outlets—or without enough of them—you’ll be limited on how much time you can spend working before you have to relocate.
Amenities: One of the perks of working at a cafe is enjoying their food and drink options. Look for a diverse menu selection (and don’t forget to tip). Keep in mind that boutique cafes often charge a premium for their offerings, so a couple of cups of coffee a day can add up quickly.
Space: All the amenities in the world don’t matter if there’s no place to sit and enjoy them. Make sure there’s enough seating to accommodate your needs. Otherwise, you’ll have to move on or improvise a standing desk at a shared high-top table. Speaking of seats—remember that comfort is key! Working at a cafe for a few hours is much easier when the seats are comfortable. Hard, wooden chairs are less desirable than cushioned booths and armchairs.
Safety: Check the cafe’s health department rating before getting settled. You don’t want to take that first sip and then notice a low health score. Look for cafes that are fitted with security cameras and have attentive staff. This will help protect your expensive gear, such as your laptop, tablet, or camera.
It’s All About Atmosphere
Eco-Friendly: One of the perks of remote work is that it’s environmentally friendly. However, high-traffic coffee shops can produce a lot of waste. That’s why the best ones offer for-here mugs and reusable flatware rather than using disposable items exclusively. They also allow frequenters to bring their own coffee cups. Working in a beautiful environment can inspire creativity. Calming plants, great lighting, eye-catching art, and appealing interior design make the perfect cafe the sort of place that attracts remote workers every day.
Noise: Noise is a bit subjective. Some like their workspace to be totally silent. For many, though, a little background noise is actually helpful. The perfect cafe plays good music—without ads—at a volume low enough to be outplayed by a pair of headphones.
Shades and umbrellas: Work goes on rain or shine. Having intuitive window shades allows guests to keep solar glare out of their eyes and off their screens. Umbrellas offer shelter outdoors for workers getting fresh air.
Decor: Working in a beautiful environment can inspire creativity. Calming plants, great lighting, eye-catching art, and appealing interior design make the perfect cafe the sort of place that attracts remote workers every day.
Reminders for a Great Cafe Experience
You’re still a customer: If you don’t want to be “that person” in the cafe, bear in mind that you’re still a customer. You have to order something, and you should order more depending on how long you’re there. Otherwise, you’re “that person”—the one taking up a large table for all their things, talking loudly on the phone, and hasn’t ordered anything in hours. Be courteous. It’ll make the cafe staff happy to have you there, which in turn makes a better experience for you. If you plan on working for two to four hours, $10 is a good amount to spend. If you’re planning to make a day of it, be prepared to order more.
You don’t live here: The cafe is not your house, and the staff doesn’t work for you. Clean up after yourself, tip each time you go to the counter, and strive to create a positive impression. Don’t ask for the WiFi password before you’ve even placed an order, and don’t order the cheapest thing on the menu. If you can’t afford the cafe’s services, then you shouldn’t occupy their space.
Be a team player: Try to make your presence as unobtrusive as possible. This means keeping your work area clean, taking phone calls outside, and using headphones to listen to things. There’s nothing quite as annoying as having to listen to someone’s loud phone conversation. Be considerate to your fellow patrons and remote workers. Try not to take up more space than you need. Plan what you need to have with you to work successfully, and leave everything else at home.
Have You Found the Perfect Cafe?
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