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The 7 Best Tips and Tools for Working From a Coffee Shop

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Working from a coffee shop is all about striking a balance between being productive and enjoying yourself, as it can be surprisingly easy to get things done in-between sips of your favorite drink.

However, many challenges can emerge from working in a busy environment with distractions all around you. Here are some tips for working from a coffee shop, including helpful tools to ease your experience.

1. Choose a Conducive Location

A coffee shop

Most cities have plenty of coffee shops to choose from, but it’s essential to pick a place that has the right atmosphere for you.

Coffee shops with fewer people may be more conducive than others where a lot is going on around you, although that depends on your personality and what works best for you in terms of being productive at work.

When choosing a location, keep some other things in mind as well:

Is there free Wi-Fi? If so, how fast is it? Are there parking spaces nearby? Are outlets accessible from all seats in the shop? How far is the coffee shop from your office or home? How comfortable are the seats? Is the coffee good? Do they have food/snacks?

You will likely be there for long, so picking the best option for your needs is crucial. In this regard, try selecting a coffee shop with enough tables or one big enough to justify occupying a seat for long.

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2. Gear Up

Going to a coffee shop with the tools you will need for work is a vital step towards ensuring you have a productive day.

You might need to take your laptop and charger, adapters, noise-canceling headphones (especially if you enjoy seeing people around you but struggle to focus with noise), tablet, notebook, just to name a few.

You can also try bringing snacks (if they are allowed) to keep your energy levels high throughout the day and avoid that jittery feeling of having too much caffeine in one sitting. Plus, it gives you another reason to take frequent breaks from work to avoid zoning out for hours.

3. Create a Music Playlist

A smartphone and AirPods

We bet you already know that music can help boost your productivity. One way to stay in a good mood while working from a coffee shop is by creating a playlist that puts you in the right mindset.

This could be music that energizes you, like rock or EDM, or something more calming like classical music or jazz. The important thing is that the music makes you feel good and helps you focus on your work.

However, keep in mind that you are in a public space, and not everyone around you might enjoy loud music or your playlist. You can enjoy your music with your ANC headphones, and they can also help you avoid any distractions from people talking near you.

Creating a playlist is easy—all you need is a music streaming platform like Spotify or Apple Music and some time to find songs that work well for you.

4. Leverage Silent Mode

Continuous interrupting notifications from your smartphone can lead to context switching and sabotage productivity. Putting your smartphone in silent mode can help reduce distraction while working and keep you focused on the task at hand.

Alternatively, you can try these apps and extensions to reduce distractions. You can also schedule regular breaks into your workday and use them to check your phone when necessary.

5. Don’t Leave Your Computer Unattended

This one is pretty straightforward—leaving your laptop unattended in a coffee shop is not a great decision, as it can be stolen.

Leaving your computer unattended can also be a risk if you’re working on something confidential, or you have sensitive information in it. It might be best to take your work with you when leaving your seat for a break.

However, if you need to step away from your computer for a few minutes and can’t take it with you, it would be wise to use a laptop security cable and shut down your laptop (or lock your account).

6. Stay Safe Online

A laptop showing a VPN software solution

Coffee shops typically offer free public Wi-Fi to attract more customers. However, this is not always safe!

Cybercriminals can easily set up shop and start stealing private information from unsuspecting users who connect to the cafés’ unsecured Wi-Fi network.

That said, you should use your own personal internet connection or mobile data if possible—it will be much safer than using free (and potentially hacked) Wi-Fi at a coffee shop.

In addition to this, you can:

  • Use a VPN (a virtual private network) to encrypt your data when connected to public Wi-Fi.
  • Don’t browse websites containing confidential information. You could use your smartphone’s mobile data instead.
  • Change your laptop’s settings to ensure it does not connect automatically to public hotspots.
  • Make sure it’s the coffee shop’s legitimate wireless connection.
  • Use an antivirus software.

In a nutshell, it is always safer to assume that all public Wi-Fi networks are compromised.

Related: Secure Strategies to Use Public Wi-Fi Safely on Phones

7. Be a Good Customer

When you’re in a coffee shop, it is essential to remember that you are a customer, which means being respectful of the staff and other customers, and following some basic etiquette rules.

Some things you can do to be a good customer include:

  • Buying something from the coffee shop—even if it’s just a cup of water or tea.
  • Keep your area clean.
  • Leaving a tip for the waiters (especially if they were attentive and provided excellent service).
  • Not talking loudly on your phone.
  • Be considerate of others by not monopolizing tables or seats for long periods.

Chances are, you will come back another day to work, so try to ensure everyone remembers you fondly.

Improve Your Productivity While Working From a Coffee Shop

Working remotely from a coffee shop can be great for your productivity, but it’s important to be aware of the risks and challenges.

By following these tips, you can enjoy the benefits of working in a café while keeping yourself and your data safe.


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