Working at cafes: best practices


As freelancers, it can be tough to find public spaces to work out of that are inspiring and productive. But we are big believers that a change in environment is a great thing for a creative to do throughout their work week. You can spur creative ideas with other freelancers, and get inspired by new surroundings. A favorite for a lot of remote workers and independent photographers is working from cafes. But how do you work effectively in busy, co-working environments?

We’re here to help with our top tips for staying efficient while working from cafes and co-working environments. 


Select the right environment

Your experience with how you work from coffee shops is largely based on the one you select. Think carefully. If you choose a coffee shop in a tourist hot-spot downtown, more than likely it’s going to be busy and crowded, with restrictions on how long you can stay. Getting a little out of the way into the nooks tucked outside the city is a great place to start.

A few things that should be on your cafe checklist:

  • Outlets- where are they? Are there a lot? Do they disrupt the business?
  • Is there a restriction on wifi usage?
  • How much do you need to spend in order to stay there?
  • Are there other people working there? (This is a great sign!)

Don’t be “that” person

Be aware of your surroundings. If you know you’re going to jump on a conference call, step outside to take it. Don’t take over all the outlets, and try not to take up more than your fair share of space. If you notice a cafe is getting busier and busier with people eating, maybe it’s time to switch locations! Avoid super busy times (whether it be morning rush or lunch hour) unless you know the cafe is okay with remote workers staying during that time.


Purchase something every few hours

A general rule of thumb, the longer you stay- the more you should buy. We suggest buying something to support the local business every few hours. This might be a different story for corporations, but if you’re using your cute local cafe around the corner- make sure they feel supported, not taken advantage of. You’re saving money by not renting a co-working space, or using the wifi you have at home. Even if it’s a small coffee with a decent tip, followed by a snack and ending with a tea- it can make all the difference in how you’re perceived while working there. You want to be welcomed back! 

Foster a cafe community

Some great cafes will have community tables intended for creatives and individuals to share stories and chat amongst each other. Use these for some spontaneous networking conversations, or to take a break in your day. If you become a regular, you’ll likely see the same people popping in and out so it’s a fantastic chance to break up your day a bit from non-stop work.


We hope these tips help you with any remote work or in your seek for new, inspiring environments. Have any environments you love working in? We’d love to hear your tips below!

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