Coffee shops have long been places for people to gather + catch up. With the rise of startups + freelancing, they have also become places of business for some people. Living in Austin, a land for startups + hundreds of coffee shops, I have seen this trend (+ participated in it first hand) in this coffee shop as a second office. It can be easy to forget other people use them differently.
Recently, I went to my favorite coffee shop a few hours earlier than a meet up I had with a friend so that I could work on a paper for grad school. I found myself getting annoyed at other patrons who were distracting me from my work. However, I soon came to realize that we all need to learn to coexist whether we are meeting with a friend/client or working by ourselves. There are certain etiquettes we can follow so that we aren’t shooting dirty looks around the room.
- Don’t take a table larger than you need. Two people don’t take a four-person table.
- A coffee shop isn’t a great meeting place for large groups. many coffee shops only have seating for 20 or so people. Sit outside or go somewhere with seating galore.
- Mind the electrical outlets. If you’re there to socialize or won’t be charging anything don’t pick a table right beside the outlet (if possible).
- Take your phone calls outside. No one wants to hear your conversation.
- If you’re chatting, use your inside voice. I shouldn’t be able to hear every word of your conversation if its four tables away. Is that an invitation to join?
- Buy something. Don’t just go to the coffee shop to chat or use free wifi. Make a purchase. It’s how they stay in business.
- Tip your barista because, duh.
- Don’t bring young children if you plan to stay for hours. I don’t have any kids but I know a three-year-old probably isn’t going to be satisfied sitting in one place, quietly for three hours.
- If you do bring kids (or a pet if they’re allowed) keep an eye on them. If they spill something or make a mess, clean it up; don’t leave it for the barista.
- Respect coffee house events. Be aware if they have an open mic or another event every week + don’t huff + puff your way out when it begins.
- Follow all of the above rules for all patrons, especially 1 + 3 + 5 + 10.
- Bring headphones. It’s going to be loud, you are in public
- Accept that it is going to be loud + busy. Don’t give others the stink eye for just living their lives (unless they’re being unruly, then I give you a free pass).
- Don’t bring + unpack your whole life. The most you should have is a laptop + a notebook + a pen. This isn’t your office. You should be able to carry everything you bring out in your arms.
- Don’t hog chairs. Let others have the extra chair(s) at your table. Don’t fill it with your stuff.
- Try not to go at peak times. 7AM-10AM it will be busy with before work meetups + people getting their daily caffeine fix. Save yourself the distractions.
- Don’t stay all day. Ideally, you should be there only as long as your computer battery or four hours max, whichever comes first.
- If you’re there a long time, buy more than one small coffee. I suggest one purchase for every 1.5 hours you’re there, afterall you’re taking up space for other potential customers.
- Bring extra power sources if you have them. Seats by outlets are sparse. Or follow rule 7.
- Working out of a coffee shop shouldn’t be an everyday occurrence. I suggest working out of a coffee shop once a week max + I would alternate between a few different ones.