Ideas brew at coffee shops, but froth short-lived: Regus survey

The business pundit’s new darling is ‘coffee shop working’. And it sounds tempting - free wifi, a ‘buzzing’ and ‘cool’ environment, and a permanent access to delicious cappuccinos and fast food. “But is the coffee shop really an ideal place to work from?” Regus puts the question to business people across the world to figure out their views and the answer is a resounding “no”. We all recognise that it’s great to be able to drop in to a coffee shop when out and about and get some work done, send few emails, or have a quick catch up with a colleague. However, respondents to this survey made it clear that coffee shops cannot be the norm, as they are neither productive, nor secure nor professional.

Amongst the list of draw-backs for coffee shop working, loud fellow-customers disturbing productivity and (of course) lack of facilities like printers, scanners or regular office equipment – hardly makes business easier. Coffee shops are also seen as a no-no for client meetings. In India, baby boomers (57%) are more likely to find the coffee shop a difficult environment to concentrate in than casual Gen-Y (49%). Nosy eavesdroppers are also more of a concern for baby boomers.

Key Statistics

  • For Indian workers the three biggest coffee shop drawbacks are:
    • Privacy of documents and conversations (80%)
    • Having to look after belongings at all times (77%)
    • Noisy customers disturbing their telephone calls (68%)

  • 67% say that background chatter also disrupts their productivity and 66% think a lack of access to office equipment is a disadvantage

  • Over half (52%) think coffee shops are a no-go area for client meetings

  • Baby Boomers (57%) are more likely to see the environment of coffee shops as a difficult place to concentrate than gen-Y (49%)

Mr. Madhusudan Thakur, Regional Vice-President, South Asia, Regus comments, “Trendy business specialists have been claiming that working from coffee shops is becoming increasingly popular, and we all know that the occasional visit for cappuccino with a side-serving of wifi can come in very handy. However, our latest research shows that while it may suit for short spells, working for longer durations from a coffee shop can seriously affect productivity. Our previous research has shown that 72% of people globally find flexible working makes them more productive – but this is only in a professional, flexible workspace – as evidenced by our respondents’ views on low coffee shop productivity. At Regus, we often have people coming for an appropriate, flexible workspace, after realising that these trendy alternatives just don’t work for them. This study now provides hard evidence to back up our anecdotal experience. A productive workspace cannot be obtained in a coffee-and-cake atmosphere.”

Research Methodology:

Over 26,000 business respondents from over 90 countries were interviewed during January 2013. These were sourced from Regus’ global contacts database of over 1 million business-people worldwide which highly represents senior managers and owners in business across the globe. Respondents were asked about the challenges they experienced when working from coffee shops. The survey was managed and administered by the independent organisation, MindMetre,