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Getting work done at the coffee shop is not really as awesome as it sounds


Sitting at your favourite table in your favourite coffee shop, you type furiously away at your laptop’s keyboard in a frenzy of creativity. Then you pause, lean back and admire your work as you take a long pull at your cup of fresh coffee, and dive right back in. I bet this sounds familiar to many of us.

All of us have at one point or another, escaped the boring atmosphere of the office to seek refuge in a nearby café, they are undeniably a refreshing alternative to our conventional work environment. Heck, who knows, you might even get one of those Hollywood bright-idea-at-Starbucks moments!

However, be warned that once you make it more frequent than an occasional drop, you better be ready to deal with quite a number of headaches. Research recently released by Regus, a provider of flexible workspace, shows that coffee shops are actually not very conducive for work.

Country Head of Regus Australia, Jacqueline Lehmann, said: “Our past research shows that 35 percent of Australian workers  spend half their working week outside their main office, and many of these employees rely on coffee shops as a key ‘third place’ for work.”

“Although working from your nearest café may sound tempting – free Wi-Fi, the buzzing environment and permanent access to your caffeine fix – there are some series issues to consider for management when asking your employees to work on the road,” Ms Lehmann added.

What are the obstacles to working in a coffee shop?

The research reached out to a number of Australians who work in a café and identified the following as the obstacles they face, in order of reducing annoyance.

  • Concerns over the privacy of my conversations/documents
  • Cannot leave my equipment and personal belongings unattended at any point
  • Other customer’s conversations disturbing my productivity
  • Other customer’s conversations disturbing my work telephone calls
  • Difficulties accessing office equipment (printer, fax, photocopier)
  • Unreliable or slow internet connection
  • Lack of access to company documents
  • Unprofessional location for client meetings
  • Difficulty concentrating on work issues
  • Bad diet thanks to constant temptation of coffee and sugary foods on offer
  • Bad posture (especially due to those really low coffee tables)
  • Inability to video-conference
  • Bad or unreliable telephone reception

Nevertheless, despite all the obstacles, the younger generation of Aussies are still undeterred in their love of working in coffee shops. The research revealed that 52 per cent of Baby Boomers deem the café as an unprofessional location for client meetings, compared to only 38 percent of Gen Y.

Coffee shops play an important role in many startups, especially in the early days. Yet, as your business matures and grows, they increasing become an escape, rather than a regular place of work.