I was sitting in a local coffee shop trying to get some work done. I won’t name names mostly because I can’t remember their new name... they changed it recently. I had only been there maybe 40 minutes having arrived early for a meeting. I suddenly felt like I was going a little crazy because I had heard “Hey Jude” at least 3 times in less than an hour. Almost at the exact time I noticed that I was bumped off of the wifi network, losing most of an email I had been writing. These were some not so subtle signs that my time is up here. It is a frustrating situation that my fellow mobile workers face on a daily basis.
Other frustrating scenarios often faced in these environments include: inadvertently being a part of a mommy and me class with a group of mothers and their young kids; college students spread out and dominating an area when it is clear they have not purchased anything; people taking long, loud and highly personal phone calls. It is a public place they have as much a right to it as me, but it is not conducive to productivity.
Mobile workers using cafes as a primary workspace is common for many small business owners like myself… this is a relatively new phenomena in the last 10 years or so. For days when I need to concentrate and don’t want to face additional obstacles in getting my work done, there are a couple of places I've found that provide the balance I need between the confines of my personal office and the hustle and bustle of today's cafe scene.
I recently found The Hudson Business Lounge cafe is a place where they don’t mind if you stay for hours to work. At the Hudson you’ll find your fellow mobile workers and some meetings taking place in their cafe, but you rarely see lines of students or families frequenting. There are some other perks that you get if you decide to get a membership, including a members only workspace, access to private meeting rooms, printing, even a member shower if you’re a dedicated cyclist — just pack a towel.
Another favorite spot is the Stonecreek Factory Cafe that is just north of the train station. It's not as formal as Hudson, but they have a lot of great space and a more subdued atmosphere conducive to focusing on work and productive meetings.
Its great that there are some spots that cater to this niche including creatives such as myself. Some of my best ideas have been started on a cafe napkin. And, I love having one of "those" jobs that allows me to work from anywhere. Being a mobile worker has improved every aspect of my life. Having the freedom to change my surroundings has increase my ability to be more productive and creative. I am glad that there is a cafe culture with lots of changes of scenery available to me. But some of these places are forgetting that mobile workers are their bread and butter.
Note: the Starbucks on downer has upgraded to Google wifi which is a huge improvement over their previous provider. Really fast for a cafe!