Cafe Etiquette for Freelancers

Working as a freelancer typically means you spend a lot of time alone, so heading out to work from a local cafe can be a nice change of scenery. Not only does it give you a chance to interact (albeit briefly) with other humans, there’s also coffee (yay) and good food at the ready. But before you settle in for a long day at the ‘office’, remember to consider the owners and your fellow customers by exercising a bit of basic cafe etiquette.

Buy something. Or even better, more than one something. Most cafes like/need to operate with a high turnover, so if you’re planning on staying put for a couple of hours you need to earn your place. Buying one coffee isn’t going to win you any friends, so do your best to help the owners out by grabbing yourself a second cup and a snack.

Don’t take up too much space. Sure, it’s tempting to set yourself up at a table for four so you can spread out, but that would be rude, and you might even be asked to move. Grab a smaller table and leave the larger ones for bigger groups.

Mute your laptop and phone. Listening to incessant email or phone notifications is disrupting and annoying for everyone around you. Same goes for long phone calls. Play nice and keep the noise to a minimum.

Don’t hog the interwebs. Free WiFi is awesome, but it’s not just for you. Don’t be the guy who slows it down for everyone with massive downloads and non-stop YouTube streaming.

Let the owners know you appreciate them. All it takes is a simple thank you, and maybe a tip when you leave. A little gratitude will go a long way if you’re hoping to use their space on the regular.

So basically the general rule here is to be a nice human and exercise some common courtesy. You’ll keep the owners happy, and with a bit of luck they’ll be happy to have you back. Which means, everybody happy!