With many coffee shops and cafes now providing free wifi as standard we have seen a rise in individuals working from coffee shops, so much so that a new term has been coined to describe the use of coffee shops as offices. The “Coffice” is defined in the urban dictionary as “A coffee shop one makes into an office where non-coffee shop work is performed.” The ‘home from home’ environment, social aspect and good quality coffee makes the “coffice” a very appealing workplace for many and in this blog we explore why.
Changing ways of working
Gone are the days of the ‘conventional’ office, where each worker has an assigned desk, their own space, and works 9-5 on Monday to Friday. The nature of the workplace, and the workforce, is changing. Whether it’s introducing hot-desking, having a more open plan space, providing laptops and iPads instead of bulky desktop computers, or even allowing for flexible working. The working environment has changed dramatically in the last few years and technology has allowed us to work from almost anywhere with a plug socket and a stable wifi connection. This is great news for startups who often can’t afford their own office space or prefer to work in a more flexible environment.
Rising office costs
The expense of a physical office is a big commitment for small businesses and startups. Although working remotely from home is a viable solution it can be very unsociable and disrupt collaboration amongst colleagues. The “coffice” has become a great free place to meet and share ideas over good coffee without having to hire office space.
The end of open plan?
Some research suggests that the rise in the “coffice” is a result of the changes to the working environment, particularly the increased use of an open-plan office space. Dr Nicole Millard, a specialist in data, analytics and emerging technology, believes that large, open-plan offices are inefficient, and will soon die out. She believes that the interruptions faced when working in an open plan office can lead to a lower level of productivity, and overlooked or forgotten work.
A research paper, commissioned by furniture brand Haworth, found that on average, office workers lose 28% of their productive time due to interruptions and distractions. Haworth also found that the introduction of “focus” and “collaboration” spaces in an office can be a way to overcome the loss of productivity due to interruptions. These spaces offer clearly defined work spaces, either for a group to work together, or for individuals to focus on a specific task. However, redesigning an office can come at a very high cost, which is where the “coffice” becomes a viable alternative.
The move towards the use of “coffices” is allowed, and even praised, by some managers as it can result in higher productivity and creativity. Research carried out by MyVoucherCodes found that 81% of Brits spend at least 3.5 hours per week working from a coffee shop. Research from The University of Illinois found that the hustle and bustle of a coffee shop enhances both performance and creativity. Whilst some people have doubted that working in a place with so much noise can be productive, the research found that in fact silence can sharpen your focus to the point of being unable to think outside the box. Which could explain why often if you’re too focused on a problem, you find it near impossible to solve.
Of course, spending time in the “coffice” is not for everyone so an alternative is to create a premium coffee experience inside the workplace to recreate the ambience of a coffee shop environment. The introduction of a luxury coffee maker into a breakout space or collaboration zone is a great way of creating the atmosphere of a coffee shop whilst keeping staff on-site.