Are Coffee Shops Really a Good Place to Work?

In an era where so many jobs can be done on a laptop anywhere in the world, coffee shops have become a lot more than a place to grab a cup of java. For many, they’re the new office.

But are cafés actually an effective place for a telecommuter to work? A new survey from Regus, a provider of flexible workspaces, casts some doubt on the notion that coffee shops are productive spaces for workers.

There are three major reasons why professionals may seek alternative destinations away from their favourite local café. 84% of Canadians ditching coffee shops cite concerns around the privacy of their documents (due to unsecure public wifi, among other things); 81% cite concerns around the security of their physical belongings (it sucks to pack up your laptop and bag just to hit the washroom); and 74% cite noisy customers (’nuff said).

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According to Regus, Canadians these days believe going to the local coffee shop for a quick scan of email is fine—but they would prefer not to make it a primary destination for work. In a separate study, Regus found that 72% of people globally find flexible working in a professional environment makes them more productive than cafés.

“As more people hit the road for work, coffee shops can be an easy drop-in destination, but have their own set of unique distractions,” says Wes Lenci, vice president of Regus Canada. “While free wifi and specialty drinks are a plus, these shops weren’t designed and aren’t equipped to serve as an ‘office’ for today’s road warriors.”

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Lenci cautions workers not to rely on the corner shop for all their needs and wants professionals to consider the following:

• Space constraints: If you arranged to me a client or a potential partner as a coffee shop there is no guarantee there will be an open table or your “favorite chair.” Booking a meeting room or dropping in to a business lounge ensures you have private space with no distractions. In fact, 60% of Canadians surveyed believe coffee shops are a no-go for client meetings.

• Image: Making the right impression as you grow your business matters. Having a conference call with a barista in the background is not professional. Having a professional business address gives your business credibility.

• Safety: Free wifi is not secure and it isn’t a good idea to leave your Mac unattended while you go to the bathroom. Shared work environments office the technology and the space for a comfortable working environment.

• Networking Opportunities: For home-based workers who are battling isolation, a coffee shop may seem like a logical destination. However, if it’s crowded with kids, you may not find the intellectual stimulation you were looking for. By working from a business centre, you can interact, meet and collaborate with like-minded professionals.

• Resources: Working on a tight deadline and need some additional support? Coffee shops don’t have an admin team who can be an extension of your business. From notarizing, to copying and from reception services to help with billing, business centers offer services that can help you run your business more efficiently.

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