Originally published in The Yard‘s Blog
By Tyler Woods
For one, the coffee’s free.
But there are many reasons people around the country are upgrading from a Macbook in a Starbucks to a conference room and a reception desk.
“Back when I was in college, working on a startup in a cafe was one of the few options available,” said Neil Wong, Chief Marketing Officer at Ebindle, a new online retailer. “Basically, our rent was the amount of drinks we bought at the bar. Our desk was first-come, first-serve. And our conference calls were in the bathroom. It’s definitely fun when someone’s first starting out, but eventually you need to grow up.”
As the number of freelance workers has boomed in recent years (as of 2013, one third of American workers were freelancers) the cafes have become overcrowded and noisy.
“A coffee shop is never a sanctuary… The Yard can become a sanctuary for you,” author and Flatiron member Alex Chung said. “That’s the difference between The Yard and a lot of other coworking spaces: you can’t find a sanctuary at other spaces.”
Another plus is that coworking spaces want people working in them and cafes don’t. In fact, there’s a veritable war on laptop workers in coffee shops. A recent rundown of headlines on the topic read like this: “Coffee Shops Limit Wi-Fi To Discourage ‘Laptop Hobos’”; “Coffee shops limit perks to move Wi-Fi squatters”; and “Coffee Shop Owner Says Curtailing Laptop Use Boosted His Business.”
“A coffee shop is equal parts annoying and unprofessional,” said cafe and hotel bar hopper Jayson White. “It’s fine for banging out a couple emails in the morning, but once you have the hiss of an espresso machine in the background of a serious call, you get put in a category by the people on the other end.”
And in the end, business decisions come down to the bottom line.
“Do the math: $3.00 coffee times 20+ work days a month = Get an office,” White concluded.