A Vermont bakery made news this month by banning laptops and tablets — and increasing sales in the process.
Yes, coffee shops and bakeries are prime locales for workshifters whose jobs and tools make it easy to work from anywhere and who appreciate the opportunity to get out of the house every once in a while. But when workshifters set up camp for hours, take up valuable table space and bandwidth, and purchase a mere latte or scone, the coffee shop can lose out on other customers.
“We saw a lot of customers come in, look for a table, not be able to find one and leave,” said Jodi Whalen, owner of August First Bakery & Café, in an interview with NPR. “It was money flowing out the door for us.”
Whalen’s not the only one to see a connection between fewer laptops and higher sales. So it’s on us, the wandering workers of the world, to abide by some basic rules that respect our hosts’ business goals and keep the coffee shop world safe for our kind.
Here are seven dos and don’ts that will help you keep your coffee shop office:
1. Don’t take phone calls or web meetings in public spaces. Step outside, or schedule those for the hours when you work at home.
2. Do buy something for every hour you’re in the coffee shop.
3. Don’t hog power outlets or bandwidth.
4. Don’t spread out on a four-top. Use as little table space as possible, and leave the larger tables for larger parties who are buying more.
5. Do avoid peak hours (breakfast and lunch) when possible; if that’s not possible, buy a meal.
6. Don’t camp out for the whole day. Four hours is pushing your luck.
7. Do respect other patrons, be kind to the staff, clean up after yourself, and tip generously.
Come on, team. It’s not hard to be fair to the coffee shops that keep us connected to the real world. And, ensuring a warm and welcoming home for your anywhere office is worth the effort.