Now that my daughter is in school full-time, my schedule is much more flexible. I’m not only able to put in more hours, but I can also work wherever and whenever I want. For instance, after I drop my daughter off at school, I can head to over the nearest coffee shop, do a couple of hours of work, then head out for a yoga class, appointment, or attend to some errands.
While being a work-at-home woman allows for this flexibility, there are some general tips and guidelines that will make working from a coffee shop much more enjoyable.
Wifi at Work:
I remember when I first started working from home, many coffee shops had complicated wifi requirements, and the majority of the time they were not free. Not the case anymore, most coffee shops and restaurants offer free wifi so that you can work away from home. But don’t just assume this, make sure to call ahead and find out before you head out the door. Packing up your home office will be a waste of time if you’re driving around and searching for an establishment that offers free wifi. You can also search sites like Open WiFi Spots to help you locate free hotspots.
Where to Work:
An important aspect of working in a coffee shop will be your workspace. At a minimum, you’ll need a chair, small table and access to an outlet – unless you have a really long battery life or a backup battery. Now you’re probably thinking, yes that’s a no-brainer! While I love Starbuck's beverages, if you’ve tried to set up office during their peak morning hours, you know that this can be a quite a challenging task. With long lines, packed tables and a noisy atmosphere, I find that this is not an ideal space for working in the early morning hours. This will probably take some experimentation on your part but look for establishments that offer an ideal workspace, for the time slot that you’re working in. By figuring out establishments' busy times, you can avoid the hassles of overcrowding, noise, and distractions.
Coffee Shop Etiquette:
Many coffee shops and restaurants have coffice rules on their WiFi login page, along with these here’s some general coffee shop etiquette that should be followed.
- Sit at the smallest table possible, with one chair; this allows for other patrons to also use the establishment.
- Abide by the time limits set by the establishment, or be mindful of your time during peak hours.
- Depending on where you are working, you will need to tip the server based not only the bill amount but by the time you took up their table. For walk-up establishments, your overall bill should reflect the amount of time that you spent there.
- Don’t add to the noise. Put your cell phone on vibrate, and don’t watch videos or listen to music without headphones.
- Clean up after yourself.
- First things first – decide what you’re going to order and give the barista your full attention. Talking on your cell phone or texting when you’re supposed to be placing your order is rude and disrespectful to all parties involved.
It never fails, every time I’m working at a coffee shop, I end up needing to use the restroom (does this happen to anyone else?). So I pack up all of my gear and haul it to the bathroom with me – pain in the butt! While some people may say I’m paranoid, I would be so bummed if someone stole my laptop. To solve this problem, you can purchase a laptop lock. Not only does this keep your laptop safe and secure, but you save time and your table.
I love working at coffee shops, but some tasks just don’t transfer well. Tasks that involve a lot of paper or files, telephone conversations or downloading large files when you're sharing bandwidth are better left for your home office. Plan your outings, so that the tasks you are focusing on reflect the environment that you’re working in.
What tips do you have for working in a coffice? Where is your favorite place to work that offers free WiFi?