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Old 11-30-2019, 10:49 AM
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Why do people work on PC in a coffee shop?


What is the advantage of taking your laptop to the coffee shop to work?

It seems to me I have control of my environment at home that will make me more comfortable. I set the thermostat to my liking, adjust the lighting and wear my pj's. Not to mention the noise level in a public place and being interrupted.

Are they looking to meet people? It seems they are concentrating on the screen and not those around them.
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Old 11-30-2019, 10:58 AM
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What is the advantage of taking your laptop to the coffee shop to work?

It seems to me I have control of my environment at home that will make me more comfortable. I set the thermostat to my liking, adjust the lighting and wear my pj's. Not to mention the noise level in a public place and being interrupted.

Are they looking to meet people? It seems they are concentrating on the screen and not those around them.
What makes you think they're working? I just assume that it's supposedly a cool thing to do and they're just likely cruising the Dope or watching porn.
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Old 11-30-2019, 10:59 AM
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I could work at home but choose to go the 4.6 miles in. I like separating work and home. Maybe they think likewise, or there are too many distractions at home, or they are sweet on the barista.

Brian
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Old 11-30-2019, 11:04 AM
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Maybe some folks need the free WiFi?
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Old 11-30-2019, 11:05 AM
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  • Home is not always a safe space. For some people, home is full of chaos, strife, stress.
  • Home is not always a calm place. A four year old doesn't care if mom is not "on duty" and dad is supposed to be watching him. Even if dad can keep the four-year old corralled, there's a good chance that the struggle itself will be disruptive. It's easier for everyone if the parent that needs to concentrate be someone else.
  • Home is not always convenient. Sometimes you are meeting someone or something and you have some time to kill and driving home or to work would be backtracking.
  • Home can be very distracting. Some people work better in "work mode" and that's harder to get into at home, in your PJs. It's also easier to get pulled away by TV or chores or whatever. All your stuff is there.
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Old 11-30-2019, 11:15 AM
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I could work at home if I wanted, but I don't. I could get a lot of work done at home, but I think I would miss "people energy". So I could see someone choosing to work at a coffee shop so that they can get that energy without the downsides of going into the office.

Plus, the coffee shop might be more comfortable than the home and the office, despite the ambient noises. Like, I have a coworker whose cubicle is right next to the men's restroom, so she can hear all kinds of "interesting' sounds all day long. She's also nowhere near the windows. So why wouldn't she want to work in a coffee shop when she needs a break from working at home?
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Old 11-30-2019, 11:16 AM
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It seems to me I have control of my environment at home that will make me more comfortable. I set the thermostat to my liking, adjust the lighting and wear my pj's. Not to mention the noise level in a public place and being interrupted.
It's not like these things have never occurred to them, some people are just different. I can't work in coffee shops but I have a hard time working without some background activity, home is too quiet for me. Other people like the coffee shop vibe, and that's fine too.
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Old 11-30-2019, 11:16 AM
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All very good reasons.
I was obviously coming from the viewpoint of my cozy little home.
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Old 11-30-2019, 11:50 AM
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Maybe some folks need the free WiFi?
I would guess this. My internet is like Dixie Cups on rotten string. I'd be at Starbucks if the stench of coffee didn't make me sick and football wasn't on. And it wasn't 12 miles away.

Oh, who am I kidding? I'll never go to Starbucks.
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Old 11-30-2019, 11:54 AM
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Some may not be at home, they may be traveling and prefer anything over the boredom of a sterile hotel room. And sometimes it may just be simple work they’re doing. Updating your slides to say San Diego instead of San Francisco doesn’t require intense focus nor does going through work emails. At my former company, you weren’t allowed to get work emails on your phone.
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Old 11-30-2019, 12:04 PM
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Some may not be at home, they may be traveling and prefer anything over the boredom of a sterile hotel room. And sometimes it may just be simple work they’re doing. Updating your slides to say San Diego instead of San Francisco doesn’t require intense focus nor does going through work emails. At my former company, you weren’t allowed to get work emails on your phone.
This is me. When I'm traveling for work and in between meetings, I often stop at a coffee shop and use the time to catch up on emails, prepare for my next presentation, etc. Apart from these rare occasions, I work from home.
  #12  
Old 11-30-2019, 12:21 PM
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I don't do it at all now, but I used to from time to time because it made me more productive. At home, there's too many distractions. I can decide to take a break and watch TV. I can decide to take a nap. I can mull around the fridge and see what's in there. Etc. As someone who works from home a lot, while it's convenient and relaxing, I don't find it makes for efficient use of time. If you are a disciplined person, you're fine, but I personally find the mental break of a home space vs a work space to increase my own efficiency a shit ton.

But everyone's different.
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Old 11-30-2019, 01:19 PM
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I have a friend who just explained to me that she goes to her favorite coffee/bakery spot to work sometimes when she is on deadline and because she is too easily distracted (by other work or something, I'm not sure) at home. She lives alone and works freelance, so I don't really understand how that works, I am much better able to concentrate at home. Other people talking, background music, food smells, I find those all distracting. But to each their own.
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Old 11-30-2019, 01:24 PM
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Originally Posted by dflower View Post
What is the advantage of taking your laptop to the coffee shop to work?

It seems to me I have control of my environment at home that will make me more comfortable. I set the thermostat to my liking, adjust the lighting and wear my pj's. Not to mention the noise level in a public place and being interrupted.

Are they looking to meet people? It seems they are concentrating on the screen and not those around them.
Home has too many justifiable distractions. Laundry, cleaning, cooking, etc. When I go to a coffee shop, or the reading room at my public library, I find I can focus much better on the task in front of me. There are fewer distractions there that I can justifiably indulge in, as compared to home.

There is also something about going to a separate space that I associate with work that puts me in the “time to get work done” mentality.

Last edited by IvoryTowerDenizen; 11-30-2019 at 01:24 PM.
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Old 11-30-2019, 01:34 PM
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I worked from home for a while and it's not as fun as some people think. When I was asked to log my work hours, it came out to 16 hours a day. Wake up, you're at work. Eat at your desk taking bites between keystrokes. Work until you can't do any more. Rinse and repeat. Easy to lose track of time when there aren't others moving around you.

Last edited by lingyi; 11-30-2019 at 01:35 PM.
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Old 11-30-2019, 01:40 PM
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I don't think I'd do well working from home because I associate home with leisure. Leisure = watching TV. Leisure = napping on the couch. Leisure = playing with my cat. None of these things are conducive for work.
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Old 11-30-2019, 01:43 PM
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I could work at home but choose to go the 4.6 miles in. I like separating work and home.
That's why I go in to the office. I like to do work at work, and home stuff at home. (Also work has food I don't have to pay for, and a pretty good gym -- although I couldn't get that in a coffee shop).

Last edited by leahcim; 11-30-2019 at 01:43 PM.
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Old 11-30-2019, 02:40 PM
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What is the advantage of taking your laptop to the coffee shop to work?
One word: roommates.
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Old 11-30-2019, 03:49 PM
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Much of this has been said in one way or another.

I work from home two days a week, and I really enjoy it; I have a very nice office at home and, as said in the OP, have complete control over temperature, sounds, etc. Having said that, I tend to go stir crazy if I spend too much time at home, where no one is around all day. So once every week or two, I will head over to Starbucks (the third closest to my house, but with the best environment) and work for 2-3 hours there, while having a couple of lattes. I like being in the middle of people and being able to people watch a bit, even if I have my earbuds in. I like being somewhere different. I like looking out the window at a different view. It's just nice to have a change of environment sometimes.

As others have said, I will also do it sometimes when traveling, if I am either sick of my hotel room, or haven't checked in yet.

When doing this at home, I only do it when I have no meetings and fairly low-intensity tasks on my plate. I will usually clear out my inbox while I am there. Personally, I wouldn't want to put together a presentation that is due by the end of the day in that environment, but I am sure there are some folks who could do that.
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Old 11-30-2019, 04:00 PM
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We have never worked from coffee shops or other noisy public places. We have telecommuted from home and, without office distractions and interruptions, doubled our productivity as software engineers. I can't imagine coding or debugging at a Starfucks, or even taking a drive-thru cup and keyboarding in the SUV's front seat, leeching off a nearby Wally's WiFi.

Home is much better. Right now I'm lounging naked in our leather recliner couch with a Lenovo laptop warming my knee, a cup of coffee+cocoa+tequila nearby, and no noise in our snowed-in winter-fucking-wonderland. At a Starfucks, I couldn't watch deer stumble through deep drifts outside. Couldn't play harmonica there, either.

Why do folks keyboard in coffee shops? If their alternatives are worse, have pity.
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Old 11-30-2019, 04:47 PM
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That's why I go in to the office. I like to do work at work, and home stuff at home. (Also work has food I don't have to pay for, and a pretty good gym -- although I couldn't get that in a coffee shop).
I often don't have access to work--it's locked on the weekends--and if there's any traffic at all, it's a bad commute. So a Starbucks or the like is the next best alternative to home.
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Old 11-30-2019, 04:57 PM
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They might also be scheduled to meet someone there, and are just getting a few things done in the 15 minutes before their appointment arrives.
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Old 11-30-2019, 05:33 PM
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Occasions where I’ve worked on a laptop in a coffee shop:

2-4 hours while my kid in a class, recital or tournament. Every four weeks, I need to do some work on Saturday and/or Sunday morning, and this way I can still be there for her and get my work done.

When doing a long distance (6 hours each way) commute that included a ferry ride, I leave early and camp out at a coffee shop right near the ferry terminal for an hour or more, rather than try to get there just at the right time. Long Island afternoon traffic can be very unpredictable. So I was more productive and less stressed.

My wife and daughter interpret “working from home” as “available for small chores” so if I really want to get work done during a snow day I’ll go to a coffee shop.
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Old 11-30-2019, 06:42 PM
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Do they have free refills? I don't know about coffee shops (I don't drink coffee), but I'll bring something to do to McDonald's and drink 5-6 diet cokes for $1.00.
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Old 12-01-2019, 08:30 AM
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I mostly love working from home, for a lot of the reasons cited, especially the comfort issues (pajama pants, FTW) and the fact that I can start work at 7:30 rather than heading to the train at 7:30 but not arriving until 8:15 or so. Plus I save $16 if I don't have to pony up for parking and train tickets.

However!

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Originally Posted by Clark Cello View Post
I tend to go stir crazy if I spend too much time at home, where no one is around all day. So once every week or two, I will head over to Starbucks (the third closest to my house, but with the best environment) and work for 2-3 hours there, while having a couple of lattes. I like being in the middle of people and being able to people watch a bit, even if I have my earbuds in. I like being somewhere different. I like looking out the window at a different view. It's just nice to have a change of environment sometimes.
Same here, particularly in winter. My depression gets worse as the days get shorter, so it helps to spend a little time out of the house and among people.

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We have never worked from coffee shops or other noisy public places. We have telecommuted from home and, without office distractions and interruptions, doubled our productivity as software engineers. I can't imagine coding or debugging at a Starfucks, or even taking a drive-thru cup and keyboarding in the SUV's front seat, leeching off a nearby Wally's WiFi.
Can I ask who you're talking about in the first couple of sentences when you're using the first person plural? You later use the first person singular, so it's a little confusing.

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My wife and daughter interpret “working from home” as “available for small chores” so if I really want to get work done during a snow day I’ll go to a coffee shop.
Yeah, my sons alternate between irritation that I'm home (and harshing their mellow, I guess?) and wanting to send me to the store to buy decent snacks or something.

Last edited by lorene; 12-01-2019 at 08:31 AM.
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Old 12-01-2019, 08:49 AM
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My office is an open-floorplan hellscape of pointless distraction and noise pollution, and so is my home. It will be even more so once our kitchen renovation gets underway in a couple of months.

A coffee shop is noisy, but at least everybody there leaves me alone and minds their own fucking business.

There are many days when I commute to my office and then spend all my time in the neighboring Starbucks except when it's time for a meeting. Hooray for open-floorplan collaboration! (yes, I will flog this horse until I die).
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Old 12-01-2019, 08:52 AM
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I don't have the internet.

Even if I did, there are times I would just want to get out of the apartment.

Or you're keeping out of the way of cleaners.

As a courtesy to your SO who is having friends over or something so they get an empty place with their BFF/book club/etc.

Your cat keeps trying to live on your keyboard.
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Old 12-01-2019, 11:49 AM
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What is the advantage of taking your laptop to the coffee shop to work?
When I have done it, it is because there are fewer distractions in the coffee shop. All of my toys and all of my stuff is at home. I can look up from the screen and find 10 things to do other than work (from "oh I should sweep." to "just two songs of Just Dance. Moving is good for me.") The coffee shop just has the internet.
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Old 12-01-2019, 12:25 PM
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The smell of freshly brewing coffee, and butter croissants warming up in the oven... alone are good enough reasons to linger around in a coffee shop much longer that it would take to gulp down a cup of coffee.

And where do you park your eyes while you are drinking and smelling the coffee? Why, on a laptop, of course. It makes you look like you are just working, not soaking up the ambience.
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Old 12-01-2019, 12:51 PM
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I "work" from home (I own half a business and do the back end bookkeeping and that sort of stuff - its a few hours a week). Once in a while you will see me in a coffee shop with my laptop.

Its either:

1) I'm there for a short period of time to meet someone and make sure they are authorized to work in the U.S., get their paperwork set up, direct deposit, etc. I have all the paperwork printed out, but bringing my laptop means if we forget something, I can set it up. I usually arrive early to these appointments, so for a few minutes it looks like I'm working.

2) My husband also works from home - if he is going to be doing something like having a big phone meeting, sometimes I grab my laptop and head to a coffee shop just to be out of his way. I'm probably not working - since I don't work much - but my laptop has things on it to do.

3) I need to get out of the house, and a coffee shop with my laptop will let me spend some time out of my house and around people, without the commitment of being social. This is more likely to happen when my husband is out of town.

If I need to work - like when I was back in school - I take my laptop to the library and go into the quiet study room. Concentrating in a coffee shop isn't for me - I could also not do a cowork space for that reason. But the library isn't good for phone meetings.
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Old 12-01-2019, 03:56 PM
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My office is an open-floorplan hellscape of pointless distraction and noise pollution, and so is my home.

<snip>

There are many days when I commute to my office and then spend all my time in the neighboring Starbucks except when it's time for a meeting. Hooray for open-floorplan collaboration! (yes, I will flog this horse until I die).
In the 12-15 (?) years since open-floorplan offices started emerging, I have never heard anyone say anything positive about them, and research shows that they don't have the intended effect of greater collaboration. I can't understand why they're still a thing.

We are allegedly moving in that direction in my office within the next year or so. It sucks and I will hate it (I like having pictures and such on my desk, and keep a few pairs of shoes under it), but my boss will be going from an office to no office so she has it worse.
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Old 12-01-2019, 05:45 PM
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In the 12-15 (?) years since open-floorplan offices started emerging, I have never heard anyone say anything positive about them, and research shows that they don't have the intended effect of greater collaboration. I can't understand why they're still a thing.

We are allegedly moving in that direction in my office within the next year or so. It sucks and I will hate it (I like having pictures and such on my desk, and keep a few pairs of shoes under it), but my boss will be going from an office to no office so she has it worse.
Slide on over to the open office hate thread and join the dogpile.
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Old 12-01-2019, 08:40 PM
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Can I ask who you're talking about in the first couple of sentences when you're using the first person plural? You later use the first person singular, so it's a little confusing.
My wife and I are both burnt-out codemonkeys retired software engineers. She's the senior techie.

Plural --> Our actions.
Singular --> My thought.
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Old 12-01-2019, 10:19 PM
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I've only gone to the library to study once in my life (I'm not counting "doing group work in one of the study rooms"). I hated it, I definitely had more control over the environment at home. I'm one of those people who like having music on, which in the library was impossible back then; nowadays it's ok so long as other people can't hear your music.

But for many other people, such as one of my SiLs, there was no control; among other things, she had parents who didn't understand "studying". The idea of needing several hours of not being interrupted, or that going to the bathroom doesn't mean you're now available for your father to start pontificating about the Proper Role of Women in Modern Society, was simply incomprehensible to them. Nowadays her son goes to the library because, despite the fact that his mother did in fact go to college, she doesn't understand the concept of "studying in your room"...

If I had to live with them, I know several cafeterias near their house where I'd be able to grab a quiet corner table; their music is to my liking and the morning crowd can be classified as "stately".

Last edited by Nava; 12-01-2019 at 10:23 PM.
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Old 12-01-2019, 10:27 PM
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Personally, I wouldn't want to put together a presentation that is due by the end of the day in that environment, but I am sure there are some folks who could do that.
Including some who work on confidential materials in a place where others can see the document.
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Old 12-01-2019, 10:34 PM
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I much prefer to work at home, but sometimes I have to exchange files with someone, so meeting at a coffee shop is ideal. The files are typically too big to email (video), so swapping flash drives works better, and while things are getting copied, I can have something to eat and drink without the hassle of making it myself.
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Old 12-02-2019, 06:13 AM
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A friend of mine is a writer. He spends 40 hours a week at a workspace that he rents. He would rather be at home, so he spends eight hours a day writing, so that he can go home and relax. If things ever got so bad for him that he couldn't afford his workspace rent, he'd do the Starbucks thing.
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Old 12-02-2019, 07:10 AM
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  • Home is not always a safe space. For some people, home is full of chaos, strife, stress.
  • Home is not always a calm place. A four year old doesn't care if mom is not "on duty" and dad is supposed to be watching him. Even if dad can keep the four-year old corralled, there's a good chance that the struggle itself will be disruptive. It's easier for everyone if the parent that needs to concentrate be someone else.
  • Home is not always convenient. Sometimes you are meeting someone or something and you have some time to kill and driving home or to work would be backtracking.
  • Home can be very distracting. Some people work better in "work mode" and that's harder to get into at home, in your PJs. It's also easier to get pulled away by TV or chores or whatever. All your stuff is there.
All of this. I attempted to work from home for years and no one respected my work boundaries or much of anything else. Wife was constantly "Well, if YOUR KIDS want to go see you (in my home office) while you are working, I can't stop them" and so and so in-law or whoever always needed a favor or whatever so "I need to go pick up niece from music practice because my sister is AT WORK. So you can watch YOUR KIDS while I go do that and then spend 4 hours at the grocery store." Or "Little jimmy missed the bus, can you take him to school?" or cats throwing up hairballs, power going out with strong wind, neighbors dog barking, whatever. Constantly.

I understand a lot of that was related to my own failure at family relationships, but I think some version(s) of that is fairly common. Not everyone who works "at home" lives alone or has an undisturbed work area. Also, sometimes it's just difficult if you dont have some structure. So, for example, if I worked out of other locations (mostly library, for me) I would have work hours and do only work there and then kind of leave it. Also, I was much more productive, usually able to do full days' worth of work in 3-4 hours. At home I "worked" many 16-18 hour days falling asleep after many interruptions and the majority of those hours spent on the toilet, looking for snacks, dealing with kids and/or animals, checking the mail, browsing random web forums, and so on.
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Old 12-02-2019, 07:20 AM
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Maybe some folks need the free WiFi?
I think it's mostly this. If there's one thing my job has taught me; people love, free shit.

It doesn't matter what their income level is, or more laughably, WHAT you're giving away. Give it away for free; people will walk barefoot across shards of broken glass to get it.
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Old 12-02-2019, 08:09 AM
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Including some who work on confidential materials in a place where others can see the document.
I always use a privacy screen. I also sit in a position where it’s not possible to stand directly behind me.
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Old 12-02-2019, 11:11 AM
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I could work at home if I wanted, but I don't. I could get a lot of work done at home, but I think I would miss "people energy". So I could see someone choosing to work at a coffee shop so that they can get that energy without the downsides of going into the office.
This is me. I work from home pretty much every day, and visit my company's office every month or two. During the stretches where I'm not at the office for a few weeks in a row, I sometimes need a change of scenery and that "people energy" you mention. Even if if I'm not 100% efficient at a coffee shop, it recharges my batteries so I'm more efficient when I go back home.

Another benefit is no office phone at the coffee shop. That's a much bigger distraction for me than some people talking at the next table.
  #42  
Old 12-03-2019, 02:54 PM
msmith537 is online now
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Like Troutman, I also work from home almost every day. Sometimes I like to go to one of the coffee shops in my neighborhood, just for a change of scenery.

Although, since half of my day usually involves being on calls, coffee shops are tough because they always have background music.
  #43  
Old 12-03-2019, 06:25 PM
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Huh. My son is 24, nearly 25. I started working at home when he was born.

I had a dedicated work space (partially finished basement), and taught him from a very young age that work was what I did and interruptions just could not happen. I was single, poor and working on commission.

If there even was a Starbucks, it certainly didn't have wifi.

I still love working from home. No distractions, no commute, and jammies! I throw in laundry and hike the dog around the block on my lunch 1/2 hour.

I'll never go back!
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Old 12-03-2019, 06:42 PM
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One example:

I have a medical appointment on Thursday afternoon. It is about a 40 minute drive from my doctor's office to my work office, and then 30 minutes from my work office to my house.

If I go to the Panera Bread next door to my doctor's office, I can do some work and then drive 40 minutes to my house. I do more work, get paid for the time, and drive less.
  #45  
Old Yesterday, 09:41 AM
squidfood is offline
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My wife and I both work out of the office a couple days a week.

I find that at home, I just sit down and work. At a coffee shop, even if I take my laptop, I just sort of sit there and watch people go by, or otherwise get distracted by the bustle, and gets nothing done.

My wife on the other hand gets completely distracted at home - just finds other things to do instead of sitting down to work. She decamps to a coffee shop for the better part of many days and gets lots done there.

Obviously we both have the "same" level of distractions in both environments so who knows why.
  #46  
Old Yesterday, 04:24 PM
Kovitlac is offline
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Plenty of people, even if they don't work in a traditional office, like to leave home to get work done. In many cases, going to a coffee shop or café poses FEWER distractions (the dishes / laundry aren't calling your name, etc). Many just prefer the atmosphere of a particular place. Me, I haven't gotten work done at a coffee shop, but I've sat there and chilled on my phone for an hour or so while just enjoying a Saturday morning at Caribou Coffee. It's just a matter of preference.

If they are staring at a screen, no, they are not looking to meet people.
  #47  
Old Yesterday, 04:41 PM
dalej42 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by msmith537 View Post
Like Troutman, I also work from home almost every day. Sometimes I like to go to one of the coffee shops in my neighborhood, just for a change of scenery.

Although, since half of my day usually involves being on calls, coffee shops are tough because they always have background music.
Yes, please don’t make long calls anywhere public when working. My apartment building has a nice common room and people often work there. Nothing worse than hearing one side of a conversation where someone is spewing acronyms I don’t know and ‘strategising’ and ‘synergizing.’
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  #48  
Old Today, 09:47 AM
Dangerosa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucky One View Post
Huh. My son is 24, nearly 25. I started working at home when he was born.

I had a dedicated work space (partially finished basement), and taught him from a very young age that work was what I did and interruptions just could not happen. I was single, poor and working on commission.

If there even was a Starbucks, it certainly didn't have wifi.

I still love working from home. No distractions, no commute, and jammies! I throw in laundry and hike the dog around the block on my lunch 1/2 hour.

I'll never go back!
My Dad (who is in his 70s) always worked from home - he was a salesman - so he did his calls out, but spent time at home writing things up and doing paperwork. We never bothered him - and from the time I could answer the phone I learned how to answer it professionally - as soon as I could write I was taking messages. It can be done, but it takes kids who are going to respect it and if you have a partner undermining you, by telling you to watch kids while they spend four hours at the grocery store, its not going to work.
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