The Coffice 101: 5 Tips to Working From Coffee Shops

Guest post by Sam Title

The home office is a fantastic place to do work. In fact, according to a report by the Telework Research Network, readers of Working Naked are among the telecommuting masses that will number close to 63 million strong by 2016 – and that’s just in the U.S. alone.

But working “naked” doesn’t have to be an all or nothing proposition. Like the bathrobe, or the towel, there are other ways to feel somewhat covered and not completely stripped of the warm comforts of a traditional office environment.

It’s okay to work someplace else. Yes, you read that right. That doesn’t mean abandoning your home office. It’s about the opportunity to find a space between working at home and working in an office. I’m talking about The Coffice – a coffee shop used by professionals to get work done.

Not unlike your home office, which wasn’t built in a day, using a coffee shop, even sporadically, requires some preparation.

Bear in mind, working from a coffee shop can be as unique an experience as each and every home office set up; and like your ideal home office set up, it should work for you — whether it’s your local indie shop or a location owned by a large corporate coffee company.

The following five tips are some general guidelines when exercising the Coffice option.

1. Prepare the night before

Charge everything and pack your workbag the night before if you know you’ll be working away from your home office tomorrow. Your bag should be sturdy, compact, protective and able to take a beating and get dirty. Water resistant would be ideal too — whether for inclement weather or the odd spill.

2. Don’t forget

Bring all of your laptop accessories including power and connection cords, peripherals (mouse, memory, etc.); portable powerbar/powerstrip or extension cord; paper and pens/pencils; ear buds/headphones; your business cards and other company marketing collateral (A coffee shop can be a treasure trove of networking opportunities.)

3. Know where to go

Choose a coffee shop based on your own needs. For example; proximity to home, corporate office, children’s schools, amenities (restaurants, gym, supermarket, business supplies store); wireless Internet access (strength, cost, network security level, time limitations). You can ensure your destination of choice takes you as close to or as far from wherever you need to be before your arrival or after your departure.

4. Consider your power source

When you arrive at your coffee shop of choice, if it’s previously unfamiliar to you, try to locate a seat closest to a power source. If you can’t find one, that’s okay because you charged everything last night, right? If you absolutely need power, this is a great time to suggest sharing an outlet by plugging in your powerbar. It’s a great way to make friends and connections…perhaps your next great business lead or the future love of your life.

5. Remember to buy

It’s important to remember that the space you’re occupying and the wifi you’re accessing is there for paying customers only. In other words, buy something. The rule of thumb is to purchase something at least once every hour you spend there. It may vary depending on where you work. If in doubt, ask others around you or even the staff.

While working from home has so many perks, working from a coffee shop can provide a nice middle ground between a traditional office setting and your home office. A change of scene is great for recharging so that you can continue doing amazing work. In traditional office settings they call it a coffee break. When you work from home, sometimes you need a Coffice break. I encourage you to give it a try.

Sam Title is Chief Executive Cofficer of The Coffice, a fast-growing online community dedicated to professionals who work from coffee shops. To learn more about and interact with The Coffice’s growing membership, sign up for priority access to the freshly brewed community, launching soon.

Comments

  1. Thanks to Lisa for giving me some valuable real estate on here! I’m ecstatic we connected.

    If this post helped or inspired just one of your readers to put something on and try a Coffice, it was more than worth it.

    Any questions?

  2. Love the Coffice! I’ve done some of my best work there! Your posts are the best because it often reminds to do keep doing the things that energize me and my work! Thank you, Lisa!

  3. A portable powerbar is a brilliant tip. The old saying really can apply in this case…A change is as good as a vacation. Somtimes the same 4 walls can get a bit stale even if you love them.
    Bonnie recently posted..Sinking into NothingnessMy Profile

  4. It’s always a good idea to make sure that the coffee shop does not mind you using their electricity. Using their WiFi is one thing- but, be nice, electricity is an add-on expense to the coffeeshop owner, so clear that with them first.
    Go and enjoy….
    And, if you are in Northern VA, make sure it’s the St. Elmo’s Coffee Shop… (www.stelmoscoffeepub.com)
    RAAckerman @ Cerebrations.biz recently posted..Cyberwarfare… It’s no longer science fictionMy Profile

    • Great advice Roy! Thanks…

      I would say it’s important to remember that places like @StElmosCoffee (great shout out) offer wifi and electricity (and milk, sugar, restrooms, table space, etc.) to paying customers.

      The wifi actually goes beyond that…it’s value added!

      As a guideline, we Cofficers need to make every effort to ensure our favorite Coffice locations can stay in business by purchasing their products approximately once per hour. Anything less would be an individual judgement call. As you said, when in doubt, ask.

      Many of us are small growing businesses — so are the coffee shops. Support them so that they can keep doing the same for us.

  5. I really enjoyed this post ~ Love the suggestions for coffee shop preparation. I just got a new Kindle Fire so I am going to try it out with the free wifi at some coffee shops near my home. I have to admit that coffee is not my favorite beverage (I am a Dr. Pepper lady), but I have read that coffee has some significant health benefits so I am developing a taste for it.
    I also signed-up for The Coffice newsletter and look forward to receiving more information.
    Thank you, Sam and Lisa.
    Janette Fuller recently posted..Cute And Cuddly Card Making ChallengeMy Profile

    • I’m thinking about getting the Kindle Fire so I can leave my laptop at home once in awhile. Let me know how you like it. Coffee isn’t my favorite drink of choice, either, but it’s tough to ignore the health benefits. I’m looking forward to getting The Coffice newsletter too.
      Lisa recently posted..The Coffice 101: 5 Tips to Working From Coffee ShopsMy Profile

    • Janette;

      Thanks so much for your comment!

      Interestingly enough, you and Lisa aren’t the first people I’ve heard from who aren’t big fans of coffee.

      You’ll be pleased to know that I’ve been known to mix up my beverage choices now and then. In the summer, I tend to drink something with ice in it…and during the winter months, I’ll certainly have hot coffee, but I’ll often opt for something more comforting…like tea. Rest assured, coffee drinking is not a prerequisite of becoming a Cofficer.

      So if your taste for the bean never fully develops (hint: you shouldn’t look like you’re eating lemons on every sip…), go ahead and try something else.

      As for the Kindle Fire…I’ve heard good things about it. I’ve even served as tech support for a relative who owns one. My only hesitation about using the Fire is the difficulty in very bright sunny days. I understand it’s not the easiest to read under such conditions…similar to the iPad.

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