The coffee shop office: the future of work or another millennial gimmick

The coffee shop office: the future of work or another millennial gimmick

Thanks to faster internet speeds and the introduction of programs like Slack, 884,000 more people work remotely on a regular basis than they did a dec

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Thanks to faster internet speeds and the introduction of programs like Slack, 884,000 more people work remotely on a regular basis than they did a decade ago. While many people tend to do this from the comfort of their own homes, there has also been a rising number of people taking to their local café to get some work done.


Coffee shops have become a hit with many remote workers, offering a change of scenery which has also been linked to increased productivity, motivation and creativity. Coffee shops are also free from typical office distractions. Research has shown that the primary problem with open or cubicle-filled offices is the unwanted noise, and although coffee shops can be noisy too, some workers actually appear to find this environment more effective to work in than more traditional office spaces. This might explain why modern office layouts extract ideas and inspiration from coffee shops, applying them instead to the workplace.


Office space providers are increasingly offering businesses access to space where “cappuccino commerce” can thrive. As Landmark explains, these arrangements are popular with employees across all industries thanks to the promise of free wi-fi, a flexible working environment, and gourmet coffee.

What are the benefits for employees?

Increased creativity

Coffee shops provide background noise, which can actually stimulate creativity, as long as it isn’t too loud. “There’s a misconception that noise is bad, because you can’t concentrate,” explains Professor Ravi Mehta, who found that moderate noise distracts individuals from their problem so they can think at a broader level. The optimum noise level is 70 decibels, which is roughly the same volume as the background noise in a coffee shop. This means that creative tasks like brainstorming or writing could be performed well in this kind of environment. If you’re looking to incorporate this sort of atmosphere to an office space, consider introducing social zones, complete with coffee stations and soft background music.

Activity-based working

Staff often appreciate the chance to work in different types of environments. Beyond social working areas, you could also incorporate collaboration spaces and quiet, concentration zones, which 81% of people want in a workplace. These provide employees with a choice of how, when and where they work, while still being part of a relatively formal office setting. This helps to maximise collaboration between employees, rather than having them sit at a desk all day with very minimal interaction, allowing teams to work together more efficiently.

More flexibility

Coffee shops are great for employees who want to work flexibly and remotely, so it’s no surprise that businesses are starting to give their employees more freedom to work where and when they wish, whether in or out of the office. Being in control of their hours and where they base themselves gives staff members a better work-life balance, allowing them to fit their job around their lifestyles. Flexible working also means that if an employee has children to look after, or a health condition which demands regular medical appointments, they won’t be constrained by a standard 9-5 schedule. This more flexible arrangement helps to increase job satisfaction and reduce stress levels.

What are the benefits for business owners?

Appeals to millennials

Embracing the flexibility employees get when working in coffee shops is a great way to appeal to the younger demographic of the workforce, 92% of whom call flexibility a top priority when job-hunting. Millennials have a very different approach to working than older generations, with 88% wanting their workplace to be fun and social—hence why a coffee-shop style office is ideal for attracting this generation. As such, they are also driven to office perks, and since 48% of millennials consume gourmet coffee, investing in a coffee station will help to keep the atmosphere more in line with coffee shops.

Reduces costs

Letting staff work remotely can also reduce business costs as, with fewer people in the office, fewer desks will be required. This also means businesses can save money by moving to a smaller office space, which allows you to lower the cost of rent, bills and maintenance.

Makes staff happier

A workplace that employees find inviting will help to increase each staff member’s job satisfaction. Being unhappy in a job can lead to a range of physical and mental health problems, so ensuring your employees have a work space that caters for everyone is essential. A well thought out environment with all the right facilities—including quiet zones and areas for socialising over a latte—will improve overall employee engagement. This can make businesses 21% more profitable, and boost wider morale within the office. Research has shown that 39% of workers claim being happy at work makes them work harder, and happy employees will stay longer at your company, meaning you’ll spend less time and money having to train new staff.