Why do people work remotely from coffee shops?

freelancer working at a coworking space

For remote workers, the opportunity to shape one’s work environment to suit individual needs and preferences is a valuable perk. Many remote workers work from coffee shops, a trend gaining momentum.  

Remote working, or telecommuting or teleworking, has witnessed significant growth, transforming how people work and the dynamics of the traditional office-based work environment. Remote working has grown steadily over the years due to technological progress, changing attitudes towards work, economic factors, environmental concerns, and global market dynamics. 

Let’s look at some of the important reasons why people prefer working in coffee shops and the challenges that come with this setup. 

Why are coffee shops popular among remote workers? 

1. Flexibility and Freedom

Working remotely inherently offers flexibility, but when individuals opt to work from coffee shops, they enjoy even more freedom to choose where and when to work, allowing them to adapt to their most productive hours and moods. 

2. Escape from Home Distractions

Home environments often abound with distractions, from household chores to noisy neighbors. Coffee shops offer a refuge where remote workers can focus on tasks without interruptions.

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3. Access to a Creative and Social Environment

Coffee shops provide an ambiance that sparks creativity and concentration. The bustling atmosphere and the aroma of freshly brewed coffee serve as a tonic for increased productivity.

4. Increased Productivity and Motivation

Surprisingly, many remote workers report heightened motivation and productivity in coffee shops. The presence of other people working around them creates a sense of accountability, motivating them to match this dedication.

Not all coffee shops are ideal for remote work. Here are the factors to consider: 

freelancer working at a coworking space

  • Proximity. Location plays a crucial role in selecting a coffee shop for remote work. Remote workers often prefer coffee shops within a reasonable distance from home or their coworking spaces.
  • Wi-Fi and Amenities. A stable Wi-Fi connection is a non-negotiable requirement. Fortunately, most coffee shops now offer free Wi-Fi, making it convenient for remote work. Access to power outlets is also appreciated.
  • Atmosphere and Ambiance. Different coffee shops offer varying vibes. Some are cozy and quiet, ideal for focused work, while others have a livelier atmosphere suitable for brainstorming or creative work.
  • Quality Coffee and Snacks. Good coffee and snacks are essential for an enjoyable work session. A well-brewed latte can provide that extra burst of energy.
  • Noise Level and Seating Options. Striking the right balance between ambient noise and quietness is essential. Comfortable seating and ergonomic considerations also influence the choice of a coffee shop for remote work.

Challenges of Working from a Cafe

Despite the advantages, remote work from coffee shops does come with challenges. The noise level can sometimes be distracting, necessitating noise-canceling headphones or strategic seat selection. Additionally, maintaining focus amid social interactions can be a challenge.

1. Connection and Community

Working from coffee shops often fosters a sense of community among remote workers. Many have formed connections and friendships with fellow coffee shop remote workers. These interactions can be professionally enriching and help combat the isolation of remote work.

2. Cost Considerations

While buying coffee and snacks might seem costly, it’s often more affordable than renting office space. The benefits of a flexible and comfortable workspace can outweigh the expense.

3. Technological Requirements

Remote workers rely on a reliable laptop, smartphone, and noise-canceling headphones to work effectively in coffee shops. Ensuring a charged battery and having backup mobile data are essential.

4. Sustainability and Eco-Friendly Aspects

By avoiding daily commutes, remote workers contribute to reducing their carbon footprint, taking a small but meaningful step toward a more sustainable work lifestyle.

5. Personal Well-Being and Work-Life Balance

Remote work, including coffee shop work, can improve one’s work-life balance. Remote workers can structure their day to include breaks, and the change of scenery can refresh their minds.

Reasons we think it’s better to book a hot desk or coworking space

hot desks at a coworking space

Booking a hot desk or coworking space has clear advantages over coffee shop work. Firstly, coworking spaces offer a dedicated, productive environment with ergonomic furniture, high-speed internet, and minimal distractions. This allows focused work, unlike noisy coffee shops.

Coworking spaces foster networking and community. Unlike coffee shops with random patrons, coworking spaces bring together diverse professionals for collaboration, workshops, and events. This sense of belonging is invaluable for freelancers and entrepreneurs seeking to expand their networks. Overall, coworking spaces boost productivity and offer a supportive, collaborative atmosphere that coffee shops can’t provide.

Benefits of working at a coworking space:

  • Professional Environment with ergonomic furniture and a quiet atmosphere conducive to productivity.
  • High-Speed Internet for efficient work.
  • Amenities like meeting rooms and private phone booths for business-related tasks.
  • Minimized Distractions, allowing focus on work without noise and interruptions.
  • Community and Networking opportunities with professionals from diverse backgrounds.
  • Events and Workshops for networking and collaboration.
  • Sense of Belonging to a supportive and collaborative community.

Disadvantages of working at a coffee shop:

  • Lack of a professional environment and essential amenities.
  • Distractions from noise and crowds.
  • Limited Networking Opportunities among patrons.
  • Lack of Privacy for confidential meetings or calls.
  • Unpredictable Environment with varying table availability and noise

Working remotely from coffee shops has been a game-changer for many remote workers, offering unparalleled flexibility, a vibrant work environment, and opportunities for connection and personal growth. While it comes with its unique challenges, you can still find a workaround or solution for common problems that you may encounter while working at a cafe. 

How to Tune Out Noise in a Coffee Shop

Finding the right balance between ambient noise and quietness in a coffee shop for remote work can significantly enhance productivity and comfort. Here are some tips to consider to achieve that balance:

Choose a seat wisely.

  • Observing the coffee shop’s layout and seating options is crucial. Some areas may be quieter than others.
  • Opting for a seat away from the main entrance and kitchen is advisable, as these areas are noisier.
  • Consider a corner or a booth, which can provide more privacy and reduce distractions.

Utilize noise-canceling headphones.

Noise-canceling headphones can be valuable for remote workers in a bustling coffee shop.

Investing in a good pair that effectively blocks background noise can significantly enhance concentration.

Timing matters. Know the best time to visit the cafe.

  • Coffee shops tend to be quieter during specific times of the day, such as early mornings and late afternoons.
  • Avoiding peak hours is recommended when seeking a quieter environment for focused work.

Bring earplugs as a backup.

  • For situations where noise-canceling headphones are not an option, having a pair of earplugs can help reduce ambient noise.
  • Foam earplugs are inexpensive and effective at muffling sounds and can be a good choice.

Use productivity apps.

Productivity apps with ambient sounds can create a more focused atmosphere. These apps can help mask distracting noises with soothing background sounds.

Use music thoughtfully.

  • While music can aid concentration, striking the right balance is essential.
  • Using instrumental or non-lyrical music to avoid distractions and keeping the volume at a level that doesn’t disturb others are good practices.

Respect others.

  • It’s important to remember that individuals share the coffee shop space with others with different preferences.
  • Being mindful of one’s noise level, including phone calls and video meetings, and using headphones for these activities can help maintain a harmonious work environment.

Finding the right balance between ambient noise and quietness in a coffee shop for remote work may require experimentation. With these tips, individuals can create a conducive work environment that suits their needs.

arthur truong osdoro coworking spaces and offices for rent

Enterprise software development experience. More recently in positions including CTO, Lead Developer and Head of Product in Australia. Deep expertise in property and legal technology in Australia with a specialty in lead generation and tech scalability across Asia-Pacific.