Conducting business at the coffee shop? Be sure to follow 'coffice' etiquette
Daniel Bitonti, CTVNews.ca Staff
Published Monday, March 17, 2014 10:10AM EDT
Last Updated Monday, March 17, 2014 10:17AM EDT
As the world of work continues to shift online, more and more people are leaving traditional work environments and conducting business elsewhere.
And one of the most popular destinations has become the “coffice.”
The coffice is not actually a single destination, but rather a community of professionals who do their work out of coffee shops.
But this new working reality is not without its complexities, mainly because “cofficers” are working in spaces they don’t directly pay for. Some people say there is a substantial amount of etiquette to learn before making the shift to the coffice.
Sam Title, a Toronto-based entrepreneur and marketing professional, is set to launch a website entirely dedicated to coffice culture. He says TheCoffice.biz will be a hub for coffice workers to network with each other and learn more about the culture.
“Home is a great place to work: You have everything at your disposal. But at the same time it can be just as distracting,” Title told CTV’s Canada AM on Monday. “You have a TV, you have a fridge, you have parental obligations, you have a cat that sends emails to clients. But you also have isolation. So it’s often good to get up and get out of the house and a lot of people prefer going to a coffee shop for that very reason.”
Title says the rise of coffice culture is a product of a broader shift in how we work. He says, for example, that more and more people are turning to communal office spaces they can rent out for short periods of time. Some entrepreneurs in Europe have even opened up spaces where people can pay by the hour to do work while getting served coffee, tea and various snacks.
Despite all the listed benefits, issues can still arise at the coffice.
In the United States, for example, there has been a recent backlash from some coffee shop owners complaining that cofficers are using too much free Wi-Fi.
Title says grievances such as this can be avoided in the coffice environment by following coffice etiquette – rules he’s assembled into the acronym BREWED.
The B stands for “business.” “You always have to remember that the coffee shop, or the coffice, is still a business,” Title said. “Independent coffee shops … they are small businesses and they are trying to pay their bills. And it’s really, really important to support them.”
The R is for “room.” “Take as little of it as possible. Share your space,” Title says. “Your bag doesn’t need a chair; your jacket doesn’t need a chair. Leave as much room as possible for someone else to share your table.”
The E is for “expense.” “Also in support of your coffee shop, you also need to buy stuff,” Title says. “A lot of people tend to buy things periodically -- usually the rule of thumb is one (item) per hour.”
The W is for “Wi-Fi.” Title says while Wi-Fi might be free for the user, it’s not free for the coffee shop owner who might be left with a huge Internet bill. Title suggests limiting the amount of time you spend online, which will also make the connection faster for other cofficers.
The E is for “ears.” Title says that it’s essential to listen to music or videos on your laptop with earphones. And if you need to take a call, be considerate of those around you.
The D is for “disposal:” Clean up after yourself.
Jordan Howard, a cofficer who left a more traditional office job to pursue other opportunities, says he feels that working out of a coffee shop is more productive than other work environments.
“Working from home and working alone can become pretty monotonous and boring and uninspiring. So it’s nice to be able to come to a place like this where there is movement and action,” he told Canada AM while doing work at a Toronto coffee shop. “The energy in the place really keeps you moving -- keeps you focused and so that creates productivity.”
Title’s coffice network is set to launch shortly. In the meantime, you can follow TheCoffice on Twitter to learn more about coffice culture.