The Art of Working on a Laptop in a Cafe

By Nicole Heymer | Jun 5 2014

The Art of Working on a Laptop in a CafeSometimes I work on my laptop in cafes. It’s a productive option for me, despite everything I’m about to tell you. I’ve spent silly amounts of time in Starbucks, Panera Bread, and a variety of independent coffee shops and bakeries. If they have wifi, they’re on my list of options.

That being said, I choose my actual location around the following factors. These are absolutely in order of importance:

1. Number of easily accessible electrical plugs

This is, hands down, the biggest factor. If my laptop dies, I’m just a person in a coffee shop eating cake in the middle of the day. (I always get dessert. Without exception.) Starbucks is amazing for this. The one I go to is relatively new and has a plug at EVERY SEAT, which I find delightful.

2. Vegetarian options for lunch

If I’m going to have to eat something with eggplant, I will be upset. (Unless it’s breaded, which makes eggplant acceptable.) I used to bring my laptop to a place that had a grilled tofu sandwich that would slay you. Grilled tofu, you say? Sounds bland. Nope, its amazing because it has Sriracha mayo. They got rid of their wifi for some crazy reason and I still think about that sandwich. This category is where Starbucks takes a nosedive. I need real sustenance — so not a “Bistro Box” with a piece of cheese, five almonds and an apple slice.

3. Noise level

I always work with Pandora running through headphones, so I can screen out a moderate amount of noise. (If you’re interested, I’m currently alternating between the French Cafe and Surf Rock stations.) But there is only so much these little ear-buds can handle. I hear a lot of conversations.

I’ve heard rich kids from a nearby boarding school complaining about being called trust fund babies. “You guys, seriously. Blaine Weathersby* called me a trust fund kid.” Said with much fake anger.

I’ve heard people being “interviewed” for “jobs” that sounded suspiciously like pyramid schemes. (I’m looking at you, Panera…where the craziest eavesdropping occurs.)

I’ve heard Mom’s Clubs TEAR APART the one Mom that wasn’t there.

And there’s a teen somewhere that was maybe going to get asked to the prom by her best guy friend, but she wasn’t sure and sent him a text…and I truly wish I knew what happened with that.

Of course, noise level is also about general ruckus and that’s a consideration.

The Others…

I know there are others out there because I see you doing things like billing for a therapy practice, working on a mysterious spreadsheet, typing up a blog post…

I’d say that we’re all pretty lucky to get to choose our office for the day based on things like the quality of the snacks. Anyone else? What are the factors that you consider when choosing a place to work on your laptop?

*This is clearly a fake name.

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