Coffee Shops: The Next Work Space?
The evolution of the internet and jobs that can be done anywhere, provided you can get online, means that we’re able to be much more flexible in our working patterns nowadays. While not every company has embraced the idea of flexible working, more and more employers are seeing the benefits it can bring.
Among them is improved productivity, with some staff thriving when working from home. Of course, that doesn’t work for everyone, with others wanting the buzz of an office environment.
But coffee shops are increasingly being used as informal work spaces by those who freelance or work from home.
Writing for The Drum, co-founding director at SteadyGo Jason Miller revealed that he loves working in coffee shops. He explained that working from home doesn’t work for him, as he finds it too quiet. However, he admits that the office can be too distracting when he needs to concentrate on a particular project.
But this is where coffee shops work particularly well, because there’s a lot going on around him, creating a buzz, but none of it directly impacts him, so he’s able to concentrate on his own work.
“Sitting there surrounded by a cross-section of society who are going about their business, catching up with friends, […] is such a stimulating experience that you can’t help but do your best work,” Mr Miller asserted.
It seems that he’s not alone in finding coffee shops the perfect working environment. The Reader’s Digest recently made similar observations about the popularity of cafes for those seeking an alternative workspace.
The publication pointed to a study conducted at the University of British Columbia, which determined that a moderate amount of background noise can make you more productive than silence.
This is particularly the case when it comes to being creative. According to the research, which focused on people carrying out word associations and product brainstorms, the optimum level of background noise is 70 decibels – very similar to that generated by a busy coffee shop.
Having that gentle noise in the background allows you to approach problems from “a more creative, abstract position”. However, loud noises, or those that result in a feeling of annoyance, will break your focus and have a negative impact on your productivity.
Aside from the background noise and buzz of the coffee shop to help stimulate your creativity, you’ve also got the coffee. Mr Miller pointed out that having a strong coffee also helps get work flowing, as it wakes you up and makes you focus.
If you run a coffee shop, there are a few things you may want to consider if you’re hoping to attract a crowd of home workers to your space. Firstly is the noise levels – achieving a healthy buzz without being overly loud is key for people’s productivity – and secondly serving excellent private label coffee to keep customers coming back for their caffeine hit.
Offering free WiFi to customers is obviously essential, and you may want to consider having an area set aside for those who are working, where they can access power points too.