For entrepreneurs, the contemporary coffee shop has long outgrown its role as a place to get a beverage. Now, your neighborhood Starbucks can also pull double duty as an office, a meeting space or even a board room. With so many people using the same space to work, toes are bound to get stepped on. Fortunately, you can do your part to minimize clashes with these simple rules of the road:
1. Keep phone calls to a minimum.
No one else at Starbucks is interested in the details of your work project. Taking a quick call is OK, but please step outside for lengthier conversations that could distract the people sitting next to you. If your job requires you to make a lot of calls, working in a coffee shop may not be for you.
2. Buy a drink or two.
Nothing is free, including the cushy chair and free Wi-Fi you’re using. A good rule of thumb is to purchase something (a drink or snack) every two hours. It’s the least you can do for the employees that have to stare at you all day.
3. Share the outlets and the bandwidth.
Don’t be an energy hog. Use the outlets when you need to charge and then unplug them so others can take a turn. The same goes for Internet access: you’re sharing a signal with a lot of other people who are just as busy as you are, so save big downloads and software updates for your home or private office.
4. Acknowledge and enjoy the presence of others.
You are in a public space, after all. Greet and smile at those with whom you share a table. And, please don’t order your coffee while you’re on the phone or have headphones in your ears.
5. Be space-conscious.
If you’re working alone, take a smaller table or use one side of a large table. Keep your things (drinks, snacks, cords) close and organized so that there is room for everyone to have a seat and a workspace.
Photo Credit: Linh Nguyen via Flickr.