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Business man working at a coffee shop

Changing tastes: Why working from the coffee shop is losing its appeal for professionals in the Middle East

March 13, 2013 12:27 by

Coffee shops have long been an appealing work-place for aspiring writers and professionals. And Kipp can certainly understand why. The smoky aroma of freshly-ground Arabica beans, the soothing ‘whooshing’ sound of heating frothy milk and the possibility of a chance encounter with a stranger all merge together to drive creative stimulation. It’s the subtle balance between working in a bustling community setting, while still having all the solitude you  need to focus and get your creative juices flowing.

At some point in time, most of us would have had some sort of internal dialogue with ourselves about the appeal of ‘coffee shop working’. Strolling by a buzzing cafe during our lunch breaks, we look towards the sea of faces buried in books, newspapers and laptops and we long for that comfort.

Okay, it’s time to burst that bubble. A recent survey by Regus has revealed that ‘coffee shop working’ is quickly losing its appeal among professionals in the Middle East. They’ve posed the question – whether they prefer coffee shops as productive work settings – to 26,000 business people across the world and the answer was a resounding ‘no’.

Why has the notion of productively working in a cafe lost its gravitas? The top four reasons were: Having to look after belongings at all times (77%), privacy of documents and conversations (72%), noisy customers disturbing their productivity (60%) and lack of access to company documents (60%).

We know that the occasional drop-by for a strong espresso while responding to a few emails can be appealing and it’s always nice to get out of the office – even if just for a change of scenery – but not on a regular basis. Regus says ‘Trendy business pundits’ have been claiming that working from cafes is becoming increasingly popular, but the survey results strongly suggest otherwise.

Garry Gürtler, VP for Middle East and Africa, says their latest research shows that, while it may suit for short spells, working for any length of time 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.”

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