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Coffee Shops Turning Into Mobile Offices With Increased Telecommuting!
The adoption of telecommuting is threatening the habit of going into the office. It is not only this, small businesses and startups are saving on cost and space by taking the workplace on the go. Where are they going though? To the coffee shop. In fact, as this very piece is being written it is in a Chicagoland coffee shop, which has been rated as the city which spends the most money and time in coffee shops in 2012.
Free Wi-fi has become a necessity for any small coffee shop. Without this it is likely that shop will not see any visitors. The advantages of going to the coffee shop are clear, there is less of a commute to work, especially if one works in a big city. It also helps morale and perhaps productivity not to come into what some would call a cubicle-like prison system. Changing up the scenery enables a sentiment that is fresh, fluid and avoids stagnance. It also helps if an individual experiences a lot of over the shoulder babysitting by a superior to get out of the office, in this way it is very liberating.
The amount of telecommuters is on the rise as well, which correlates with the coffee shop phenomenon. In regards to the medium sized businesses the amount of these individuals is considerable, according to the US Department of Transportation “21% of all medium and large businesses support some level of informal telecommuting. This covers 470,000 telecommuters.” These numbers are interpreted by coffee shops, large and small, as a target market for their services. Providing a table, an outlet, Wi-fi and coffee seem to be the ingredients for doing business in 2013, and in the coming year those numbers are expected to rise.
(The New Office)
Disadvantages are apparent though. The availability sometimes hinders business and in February 2013, Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer famously banned their work-from-home policy and much of their telecommuter workforce had to start coming in. At the time she claimed the inability to be collaborative and bounce ideas off each other was somewhat hindering real productivity, and since then it seems she may have been right regardless of the sacrifice she imposed on a lot of her workforce. This made headlines because it might cause ripples and other firms to change their policy which could concern lots of telecommuters.
(Dramatization of Yahoo! Employee Response)
(Dramatization of Marissa Mayer's Announcement)
(Dramatization of Shareholder Response)
The habits and trends of the telecommuters are also intriguing. Alex Amchislavskiy, a trainer at Panera Bread in Glenview, Ill for six years now has noticed a rise in telecommuters at his store. In terms of customer telecommuters he said “At least 20 percent are on their computers or in business meetings.” This is a daily occurrence and even more so “some are there for six to eight hours everyday.” He attributed the free internet, the coffee and overall ambiance of his store to be a reason why telecommuters prefer it more than a bland office.
Working with others in the coffee shop is also another noticeable phenomenon. That same Panera Bread has a conference room for not just lunch conferences but any meeting. They are popping up slowly in many coffee shops and trying to catch up on the demand for these mobile and coffee centric meetings. Caribou Coffee and Starbucks have also recently been installing these in new stores.
The coffee shop is changing from a place to hang out, relax and talk into the office of the 21st century. With telecommuting on the rise and coffee shops innovating new adaptations the trajectory of mobile office telecommuting seems bright.
Written by Zev Ginzburg, Contributing Writer for MeetAdvisors.com
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