The business hack's guide to 'coffice' etiquette

Nina Hendy
@ninahendy

Australians are building their corporate empire from their local café. It’s hardly surprising. Working away on a laptop while someone else makes the coffee is enticing growing numbers of Australians out of their home office and down to their local cafe. You only need Wi-Fi connectivity, a laptop and mobile phone.

The ideal café is one with comfortable couches, relaxing music, great coffee, power point access and free Wi-Fi. Also look for places with lots of natural light and enough space. Café owners are welcoming regulars back with free top-ups and by clearly displaying Wi-Fi passwords on the wall.

But there are some unwritten rules to ensure you’re welcomed back again. Here, ShortPress gives you a complete guide to ‘coffice’ etiquette.

Ask first

Consider asking staff if they mind if you work before sitting down. It’s fine to ask for a table near a power point, though order a drink straight away and if you’re there during peak times, order something to eat.

Try and order drinks steadily while you’re there. You don’t always need to have a drink on the go, but don’t sit there for hours on one coffee.

You don’t want to stay if café staff feel you’ve overstayed your welcome, so be conscious of trying to gauge whether it’s the right working environment for you.

Look for cues that you’re still welcome

You don’t want to stay if café staff feel you’ve overstayed your welcome, so be conscious of trying to gauge whether it’s the right working environment for you.

Come prepared with technology to suit the environment

Cafes aren’t the place for large-screened laptops, so bring a small screen, such as an iPad to work on, where possible. Make sure your equipment is charged.

Choose a discreet table

Don’t go parking yourself in the centre of the café. Opt for a table off to one side and sit in a seat so that others can’t see what’s on your screen. And don’t spread out too much if you’re working from a communal table.

Keep the noise down

There’s nothing worse than someone speaking loudly on their phone in a café. Keep it down.

Share the good vibes by asking the café owner if you would be able to host a meeting in their café, which introduces potential new business.

Be open and transparent about hosting meetings

Share the good vibes by asking the café owner if you would be able to host a meeting in their café, which introduces potential new business.

Rotate cafes

It’s a good idea to have a few favourite cafes to work from within close proximity to each other so that you can rotate between. That way you don’t out-stay your welcome.

Get social

If the café has a Twitter account or Facebook page, promote them as being friendly to work from.

Nina Hendy

Nina Hendy is an Australian freelance business journalist and wordsmith who writes for BBC Australia, BRW, sections of The Age, Sydney Morning Herald and affiliated mastheads, SmartCompany, Private Media and Edge titles.

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