Does Working from a Coffee Shop Fuel Productivity?

During the Easter break, I thought I’d treat my children to a chocolate and cream ice cooler at the coffee shop at the end of the row of shops we were trawling through. More as a thank you for being surprisingly well behaved.


Joining the lunchtime queue, I couldn’t help notice the two business partners, a man and a woman, consuming the centre of the small coffee shop. Adjacent to the growing queue, they sat at two adjoining tables, covered with important documents, spreadsheets, calculators, pens and their table-qualifying coffees.


At my first millisecond glance, this couple cried out productivity. Then as I watched discretely, with subsequent glances, I asked myself, why had they chosen to set up their business meeting in such a sociable setting surrounded by mothers with pushchairs and the combined effects of several children craving even more chocolate after their morning overload of Easter eggs?


While the business partner with his back to the queue, focused head down, on the important white matter in front of him, comfortably hitting targets, the woman sitting opposite was noticeably absorbing each visitor as they entered.


People watching.


Interested in the newcomers into her business space. Almost like the centre of stage, she wanted to observe the new faces of her audience. There was much respect for this well dressed couple. They were dealing with important figures, earning them all the respect of the average coffee shop addict. Their stage was lit.


Distracted? Actually no…


There’s more to Caffeine Heaven

Studies show the semi-noisy coffee shop makes you feel content, surrounded by other individuals which almost act as a cocoon. Working from home with a state of the art coffee machine grinder in the kitchen that’s makes all the cups of coffee you desire, doesn’t achieve the same affect as the coffee shop background noise which triggers the brain into productive happy mode.


Looking at the incentives of a coffee shop setting, it’s easy to understand why many individuals choose this as the place to gain their feel-good productivity. A library is the popular choice for students to focus without any disturbances, yet prohibits them from consuming food and drink or entering in general discussions. Libraries are for personal productivity.


The coffee shop is a breath of fresh air for business owners, namely self starters who don’t need to be managed. An increasing number of organisations are introducing breakout cafe areas, where workers can find fresh ground for innovative ideas away from a desk in a new environment. Much more appeal than a formal meeting room and a win-win opportunity for coffee brands and their tonnes of consumers.


Additionally, the effort to travel to a coffee shop away from the routine place of work, means you feel inclined to prove to yourself you will hit your targets. Creative success means psychological satisfaction and earns you future trips to the coffee shop.


As the cogs begin to churn

Caffeine stimulates the brain. Sourced from seeds, plants and leaves, this stimulant imitates adenosine in your brain to bind to adenosine receptors. It speeds things up, which helps power you up. Coffee drinkers need it to kick start their day. Dynamic business leaders thrive on it to succeed. When time management is everything, the coffee shop is a one stop shop for a desk, chair, free wifi, coffee and lunch between meetings. The combined effect of Caffeine with the right amount of background noise is a subconscious reasoning behind why many opt for this style of remote working.


Commonly, one coffee brand has no two shops with the same layout or number of tables. So despite coffee creating the buzz for productivity, the scene when one arrives, can be quite different to expected. Availability of boothed seating versus window seats fluctuates throughout the day, and while some individuals can operate at higher productivity levels, in even the most central and busiest of coffee shops (without an ounce of coffee), others are just not built for this. Some require complete silence with no background noise to function at their optimum.


From another perspective….

Coffee shop productivity is only successful, if a number of other factors are in adherence. The human body and mind function as an innate partnership. Both with specific needs set the boundaries with the right balance of hormones. Meeting these needs as outlined below, ensure the productivity button will always be available to push.


A Regular Sleeping Pattern

Late nights in front of the laptop, followed by early mornings to avoid the rush hour, is never the ideal end to each day. However when it’s preparing for an important deadline the next day, we have no choice. Sleep hormones, Serotonin and melatonin, start working to send signals to our brain that it’s time for bed. It’s these hormones which regulate our daily sleep pattern and keep stress levels at bay. Having a scheduled routine and getting at least 6 hours sleep is essential for effective time management.


Sticking to a Fitness Regime

Having the focus and dedication to stick to a daily fitness workout are strong characteristics of a leader. Not everyone has the get up and go to run around the block at 7am in the morning. Starting the day in this way will make you feel good due to endorphins being released from the brain to block any pain and stress, making exercise a daily habit which can become addictive.


A healthy diet

There are certain foods which give us the power to make hormones like serotonin. The amino acid Tryptophan can be received from a diet including brown rice, cottage cheese, avocados, meat, walnuts and carbohydrates like pasta. Tryptophan and Vitamin B6 are both vital to make Serotonin, which helps us to get a healthy good nights sleep.


Water intake is extremely important too. Drinking water before bed and first thing in the morning, as well as after meals and workouts, keeps us hydrated and our brain working for longer periods. Remember drinking coffee, tea and juice will make your body more dehydrated and require you to increase your water intake. Coffee can increase stress levels too, so control how much you drink, keeping it to when you need it most.



You don’t need to be spiritual to sit down for 5 minutes to become in tune with your inner self. Good posture and breathing exercises are good tools to have under pressure. Practicing these while clearing your head are effective as down time methods to make you ready to make those all important decisions in the world of business.


Coffee shop productivity can work favourably if all of the above habits are incorporated into your daily lifestyle.