Introducing the Coffee Shop Laptop Friendliness Guide

Reviews

About the Guide

Since abruptly losing my job a month ago, I’ve been doing freelance work full time (p.s. hire me). I don’t presently have a dedicated office space at home, so I’ve been working at coffee shops 3 or 4 days per week. Sometimes visiting 2 per day.

Today on Twitter, I came up with the idea to rate the “laptop worker friendliness” of the places I’ve been visiting. To some degree this is the type of thing that could theoretically be covered by a site like Yelp!. But, I think there’s value in specifically targeting a review at free-loading telecommuters. If there’s an app or site that’s already doing a good job of this, please let me know in the comments.

I asked a few people for suggestions on what aspects to rate, I think I’ve come up with a good set of criteria. I’ll be using a 3 point scale (borrowed from Underconsideration’s “Brand New” blog): bad, fine and great.

I’ll be rating:

  • Busy-ness: How easy is it to find a table. Are there a lot of consumers to distract you.
  • Seating: My number one difficulty in working at a coffee shop has been the quality of seating. For the most part, I think the seating is chosen to discourage extended stays. I will not be taking couches or armchairs into consideration, as I am unable to work in that position.
  • Noise/Ambiance: Pretty straightforward. Is it noisy? Is the atmosphere conducive to focusing. Do you feel out of place working on a laptop?
  • Staff Friendliness: Do they shoot you a dirty look if you stick around for more for an hour.
  • Power Outlets: The number of outlets, are they easy to get to, are the located in weird places.
  • WiFi: Do you need an account with a service (if so which), signal strength, speed, reliability.

My reviews will be focused around these factors and I’ll combine them somehow to form a overall recommendation.

I chose not to cover coffee or food. For the most part, I’ve found the coffee to be fairly equivalent across the board and honestly, I haven’t been eating at these places. Obviously, I’ll note any exceptions.

Over this past month I’ve been sticking close to home (Heritage Park, in St James) and been going to a lot of Starbucks. But if I keep this up, I’d like to venture out specifically for the blog.

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