If you're in a new town and need a place to work -- or if you're in your hometown and need a change of scenery -- you may find yourself bringing your computer to a coffee shop to work at one of their tables. This has become common practice, and coffee shops often account for people setting up shop and working within their walls. However, there are a few tips you'll want to follow as you do so.
1. Charge your laptop before you go.
Most coffee shops have a few outlets that you can plug into if needed, but there is no guarantee that those seats will be available while you're there. To avoid having to wait for the right table to open up or having to ask a stranger to let you plug your computer in below their table, make sure your laptop is well-charged before you head out. If you have an extra battery, you may want to bring it if you're planning a longer work session.
2. Buy something.
You don't have to spend $50 in the coffee shop, but it is polite to buy a drink or snack before you sit down to do work. The coffee shop is a business trying to make money, and since you are preventing another paying customer from occupying one of their tables, you should contribute to their business. If you stay for more than an hour, it's a good idea to periodically buy another cookie, drink, or another snack as you sit and work.
3. Bring headphones if you do not want people to talk to you.
Some people enjoy the hustle and bustle of the coffee shop; it helps them focus and get work done. You may not mind the occasional person striking up a conversation or chatting with you. However, if you really don't want people talking to you or bothering you, then you should wear headphones. They're the universal signal for "please leave me alone, I am focusing."
4. Take up as little space as possible.
This is especially important if you will be in the shop for more than an hour. Sit at a table for two, not one for six. If there is a table out of the way, in a corner, take that one rather than a big one out in the open. Try to keep your papers and books contains so nobody trips or is bothered by them.
If you follow the tips above, working in the coffee shop should go smoothly.