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How is your ‘coffice’ etiquette?

This is a post by PR Columnist, Alison Kenney.

I think it’s safe to say that everyone will at some time experience working from a coffee shop. Even if you’re not a regular telecommuter, you’ll spend some time trying to get a few to-do’s done when you’re on the road, or you’ll escape to a local shop on a work-from-home day.

What’s the attraction? 

Well, duh, there’s coffee. And usually some good-looking other stuff to eat.

But there’s also a good business reason to do it. In one of its most-read leadership articles of 2013, Fast Company outlined the reasons everyone should work in a coffee shop, even when you have an office.

Seriously, researchers at The Journal of Consumer Research found that moderate ambient background noise enhances performance on creative tasks and increases the buying likelihood of innovative products. If that’s not enough incentive, Starbucks ups the ante by offering access to free news, video and “premium content” from a variety of partners to anyone who logs onto its store Wi-Fi with its Starbucks Digital Network.

Once you’re there, it’s important to observe ‘coffice’ etiquette.  The most important, and obvious, bits of etiquette advice are:

  • Buy something
  • Be nice to the staff
  • Power up before hand & don’t hog power outlets
  • Work securely – working in a public setting has implications for your data security, as well as for the physical security of your gear.
  • Know when it’s time to go – don’t stay and hog a table if there are long lines of paying customers
  • Take your phone calls somewhere else

 Some you may not have thought of are:

  • Advertise on the back (case) of your laptop
  • Don’t download huge files, or stream movies hogging the Wi-Fi bandwidth for others
  • Clean up after yourself – yes, you’re at a restaurant, but you also might want to ingratiate yourself to the staff

And, in the third category of ‘who WOULDN’T think of this’ here are a few last tips:

  • Take advantage of mobile technology. I know, right? But check out these Improv Everywhere pranksters who brought complete desktop computing workstations to the coffee shop.
  • Don’t bring in outside food. Just because there isn’t a sign saying not to do it, that doesn’t make it right.

Want to try working from a ‘coffice’ but can’t break free of your cubicle? Try Coffitivity, a free web site that simulates the sounds of a coffee shop on your desktop.

Alison Kenney an independent PR practitioner with more than 15 years of PR consulting experience. She is based on Boston’s North Shore and has worked with organizations in the technology, professional services and consumer industries. She writes a bi-monthly PR column on You can find her at www.kprcommunications.comLearn more about Alison Kenney.


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