Ditch The Office! Hit The Coffee Shop Instead

working in a coffee shopThere’s something about a quad Americano that makes work seem effortless.

At first I thought it was the caffeine that helped me crush my to-do list. But, back at the office, no amount espresso can help me focus. Which got me thinking; maybe it wasn’t what I was drinking, but where I was working that mattered.

Turns out I was right.

A study in the Journal of Consumer Research found that people are more creative and productive when working at a coffee shop. Sure, it has something to do with the limitless supply of caffeine. But, it has more to do with the level of ambient background noise.  This small dose of distraction pushes us out of the common creative zone and encourages our brains to work more abstractly.

It sounds backwards, can a busy coffee shop be better than a quit office?

Yes!

Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald did it. Malcolm Gladwell does it too. He spent so much time at a café when writing Blink that he thanks the staff in the acknowledgements of the book.

And, it’s not just writers who can benefit having a place to set-up shop and get some work done. It’s the perfect scenario for a budding, bootstrapping entrepreneur. No office, no problem. Keep the overhead low by frequenting coffee shops instead of investing in a brick and mortar office.

A Creative Environment

Think about it. The fluorescent office lighting and a jovial bunch of chatty co-workers doesn’t promote productivity. But, back at the coffee shop, you can get into the zone. There is just enough of a distraction. The hustle and bustle of foot-traffic mixed with the sounds of baristas at work provides serves as stimulation that can help us break out of an unproductive rut.

Plus, no one at the coffee shop knows you. There’s a level of anonymity with the opportunity to interact with others on your own terms. If you’re in work mode, keep your headphones in. If you’re looking to start a friendly conversation, take the headphones out. Most of these coffee shops get their beans from coffee wholesalers so if you like a particular blend, you might as well buy a pack of it.

A Chance to Socialize

You’re not the only person using the coffee shop as an office. Who knows, maybe you’ll met a new client, mentor, or employee while working from the café. This new acquaintance just might be the connection you need to land a new job, book deal, or maybe even a date.

A Change of Pace

Perhaps the best part of working at a coffee shop is simply the fact that it is not the office. Work doesn’t feel like work. There’s no pressure to do one thing or another. You can just get in a workflow and go. Office hours don’t really exist either. If you need to put in some overtime, but don’t want to stick around at work, head to the coffee shop instead.

And, there are a few unwritten rules to keep in mind when you do:

Before You Go

Make sure your computer is charged. The power cord is a hassle. Plus, sometimes an outlet is hard to come by. Go in with a full charge. When it runs out, it’s probably time for a break.

As you’re walking out the door with a fully-charged computer in hand, snag a sweatshirt from the closet. I don’t know if it is a ploy to make us drink another hot beverage, but sometimes the coffee shop is freezing. Come prepared with layers.

When You Arrive

Buy something! From my experience, baristas are awesome. Don’t sit in the corner, hogging a huge table, taking advantage of the free Wi-Fi. Order something when you arrive. Start a conversation. You will be handsomely rewarded – think free refills.

After your drink has been ordered, or maybe before, scope out the seating arrangement. Sitting by the door is very distracting, as is sitting too close to the register or restroom. Avoid the guy in the corner conducting a video conference, talking way too loud. And, if you didn’t follow rule one – full battery – you’ll need a seat next to an outlet, good luck.

While You Work

If you get a phone call, one that’s going to be a while, go outside. That is all.

With science in support of the move, it’s time to ditch the office for the cofee shop. And, when you do, let us know how it goes.

About Joe Vennare

Joe is the co-founder of Hybrid Athlete where he writes, instructs and speaks about all things fitness. But, there’s more to him than just exercise, so he moonlights as a writer, bookworm and self-professed knowledge addict. For more, follow his business and fitness escapades on Twitter, @JoeVennare

Comments

  1. I work from home and agree that going out sometimes is a great thing. I might go once and a while to meet people and have a drink and get some fresh air. I wish they would have allowed more out of office days when I worked for a company. but they wanted you within birds eye view. I agree make sure you computer/tablet is charged fully unless you are getting there early.

    • Joe Vennare says

      Thomas, I agree. I became more productive once I was able to create my own schedule and work from home. Now I get more done before lunch than I would have all day at an office.

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