Australia’s café culture better for play than work

14th August 2013 – Research released today by Regus, the world’s largest provider of flexible workspace, shows the obstacles for Australians working in a coffee shop, with the top challenge being concerns around the privacy of conversations and documents (79%). Other top turnoffs include the security of belongings (77%) and noisy customers (66%).

Country Head of Regus Australia, Jacqueline Lehmann, said: “Our past research shows that 35% of Australian workers spend half their working week outside their main office, and many of these employees rely on coffee shops as a key ‘third place’ for work.

“Although working from your nearest café may sound tempting – free Wi-Fi, the buzzing environment and permanent access to your caffeine fix – there are some series issues to consider for management when asking your employees to work on the road.”

The key findings also revealed some generational differences when it came to attitudes towards working in cafes:


  • Older employees are more likely to deem the café as an unprofessional location for client meetings with 52% of Baby Boomers reporting this, compared to 45% of Gen X and only 38% of Gen Y
  • Concerns over privacy being an issue in cafés is also more likely with age – with 84% of Baby Boomers reporting this as a problem in contrast to 79% of Gen X and 65% of Gen Y

Obstacles to working in a café


Concerns over the privacy of my conversations/documents


Cannot leave my equipment and personal belongings unattended at any point


Other customer’s conversations disturbing my productivity


Other customer’s conversations disturbing my work telephone calls


Difficulties accessing office equipment (printer, fax, photocopier)


Unreliable or slow internet connection


Lack of access to company documents


Unprofessional location for client meetings


Difficulty concentrating on work issues


Bad diet due to constant temptation of coffee and sugary or pre-packaged foods on offer


Bad posture


Inability to video-conference


Bad or unreliable telephone reception



Source: Regus

Ms Lehmann added: “Respondents to this survey made it quite clear that coffee shops are not the most effective place for them to work. With 72% of companies globally saying that flexible working is helping them to be more productive – this study raises concerns for both managers and their employees.

“Helping some of the world’s most forward thinking companies moving to a flexible working strategy, Regus has discovered that the key to success is adequately supporting your employees. It’s about far more than giving them a ‘home office’ allowance or implementing a “bring your own device” scheme. You need to provide people with realistic options and alternatives, such as professional hot-desking spaces near to where they live.

“We frequently have both individuals and businesses using our drop in lounges and co-working spaces after they have found that the alternatives just don’t work for them. This study now provides hard evidence to back up our anecdotal experience. A productive flexible workspace can’t be obtained by relying on a coffee-and-cake atmosphere. ”