Coffee Shop Etiquette: Or How to Keep Your Free Wi-Fi

Coffee Shop Etiquette: Or How to Keep Your Free Wi-Fi

Campbell Faulkner
Feb 10, 2011

For those who work or study at home regularly, sometimes a change in scenery is welcome, if not required. The local coffee shop/cafe can be a viable home office away from home, with many now providing free or pay wi-fi to retain patronage. But it can be all too easy to get too comfortable and forget you're working in a public space. Here are some tips for maximizing your work experience while not coming off as an unwelcome leech...

  1. Buy something from the coffee shop! Allow the employees to get to know you and your unique coffee selection. Any time you appear as if you are just there to loiter or take advantage of the coffee shop space is a time when you could be making enemies. We are friends with the owner of our local coffee shop and always make time to talk with him. In our experience, we have been lucky to only meet delightful baristas.
  2. Tip well! Restaurant staff are more apt to provide you with those prime seats near outlets or next to the wi-fi routers when they remember you rewarded their service. And remembering their names and treating them courteously goes a long way too.
  3. Buy things frequently, every time you go, and regularly during your visit. Yes this can become expensive, but coffee shops are in business to make money and not to serve as your workspace or hangout. Free wi-fi is merely a fringe benefit along with their seating.

    This is the only plug in our coffee shop, it is a highly coveted position and thus must be shared.

  4. Be willing to share your space and do not be offended if the owners or employees make requests of you. These can range from being asked to share a table to not hogging too many power outlets. Just be polite and courteous.
  5. Gadget security is a problem when in public spaces, be a good neighbor. Anthony detailed his suggestions here and the feel good option applies to the staff as well. If you are willing to help others and be a good neighbor more often than not you will be allowed to use wi-fi and space for longer periods of time.

Do you dear readers have any etiquette tips for making the coffee shop home?

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