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    • I’m sitting in a bistro. I’ve started to realise that coffee shops — or bistros like this one — bring me to a secret intersection where my productivity and creativity meet. It’s the shop that brings me to this intersection and not the coffee itself.

      I start to wonder what it is about places like the Bistro, or Starbucks, or coffee shops in general, that make the creatives among us so productive. I spend a few days a week working from my local Starbucks, surrounded by a sea of other people with their MacBooks open and their game faces on.

      Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz once said that Starbucks was his “third place”, meaning that coffee shops are where he spends most of his time after his home and office. With that thought in mind, coffee shops are probably my “second place” after home. Having spent the past couple of years as a remote worker, coffee shops have become my ‘office’ and I think they play a big part in the new wave of remote working.

      Do coffee shops have the same effect on you? Where do you feel most productive?

    • I wonder what it is about that? I feel the same thing and I don't know why. Yesterday I went to the library in Mountain View to work and it was packed. But it was somehow relaxing, I'm guessing because sitting in my home reminds me of all the things I have to do. And maybe the office reminds me of all the stresses of work, I don't know.

      Nice pic, btw.

    • As an employee of a company that is 100% remote work I find working in cafes or other public spaces to be a boon to my productivity.

      Other than the complete lack of privacy I find being around other people is somewhat helpful. Looking up and seeing people move about their days puts me in a much more relaxed state than sitting in a quiet house with my dogs staring at me all day. (The guilt they make you feel is too much!)

      In fact, I'm currently writing this from my favorite working and breakfast spot in SF: Arelquin Cafe.

      If I had a choice I'd prefer to drive to an office somewhere and work in a more collaborative environment, but I'm also not a huge fan of the modern tech "open office" work spaces.

      The ideal space would be: A private work space like a cubicle / high walls I could escape to when I need focus, but it would be in the middle of a busy, bustling office.

    • I am most productive right at home. Having the right desk setup undoubtedly increases my productivity. For me that's 2 4K monitors, my favorite mouse/keyboard, a cooling pad for my laptop, a usb-c dock, my comfy chair, and a standing desk.

      I wish I could haul all that to Starbucks because I often yearn for a change of surroundings. But I still can work efficiently with just my laptop, so I occasionally go to the Cafe when I feel cooped up at home.

    • I work best with zero distractions and a comfortable workspace, so coffee shops are no good for me.

      My ideal setup is how I work now: in a private, dedicated home office. My office is a room above my detached garage so it's separate from the rest of the house, which means even my cat can't distract me while I'm working. It's perfect. 😄

      I'm a super-introvert so I really don't mind not being around other people. In fact, despite having worked from home for many years now, I don't think I've ever had the urge to go somewhere just to be around people. I usually try to avoid it!

    • There is something about a coffee shop packed with people that helped me with having razor sharp focus at what I was doing. That being said, I’m the kind of person that cannot work in absolute silence, like the quiet room in a library. Completely agree with your viewpoint!

    • Hi Kaushik,

      Fascinating. Welcome to Cake! 🎉

      When I was an undergrad in college, a professor of higher education gave a talk that might have changed my life. He said the key to focus is to set 4 hours a day aside at the same time & place every day, don't eat there or play games, just try and focus. Over a few week period, your body and mind will adapt and it will work like magic.

      I did it for all my remaining 3 years in college in a cubicle in the library and it made all the diff. I was even able to get into Stanford as a grad student even though my freshman grades were bad and I was from a state university.

      I've never been able to put that together at work because meetings, phone calls, etc. It's too bad. Those were magical years.

    • Hi Chris! Thanks for welcoming me to the Cake community. I went to school at Michigan. We had a 24 hour Starbucks at the time (I think it was 24h/could be wrong because it was always open till late) where we used to do assignments and employed a similar technique that you mentioned - the 4 hour focus technique. I think I spent 90% of my Grad School time at that Starbucks! We used to do 2 hour sprints at the max If I remember right! 😊

    • Oh wow, I didn't know how much the 4 hour focus technique was used. What's a 2 hour sprint at the max?

      Some of us at Cake meet at an independent coffee roaster, Big Mug, on Thursday mornings. We love it. We're lost in thought about how to do new features.

    • It’s a bit of a phenomenon really, isn’t it? “The Coffee Shop Effect”. Apparently humans like the sound of them (or places like them). Conversations in a coffee shop jumble together into an ambient mélange, meaning that — unless we are really nosy — we can’t pick out any one conversation. Single conversations intrigue us, and we tune in — especially when that conversation may be relevant to us, like in an office — but a shop full of conversation is easier to disregard.

    • I’ve just recently went back to open-space office working after 4 years of remote working. I’m still on the fence. I still think I’m more productive in the coffee shop environment but it has been nice to be face-to-face with coworkers. I think I’d ideally like to do half and half. 🤔

    • I think that’s how I often felt when I was at home all the time. There’s only so long you can look at the same four walls 😂. I guess it’s nice to have a balance 🤔.

    • That’s interesting, I didn’t think of the whole introvert/extrovert aspect and that does make sense. I’d say I’m an ambivert, so I guess it makes sense that I want to best of both worlds.

    • I feel the same. The office I currently work in can go dead-silent at times and I think that’s when I get most distracted. There’s something that feels a bit awkward about silence like that... it’s as though I’m ‘thinking’ about the silence and it puts me off. It’s quite strange.

    • I dream so much of having a great view when working. I've never had one. I went through the thought exercise of building a van with a desk setup, conditioned space, power, and satellite internet to work as efficiently as possible, but from anywhere remotely to learn that the idea is actually practical.


      Until then I'll look at this photo hanging above my desk 👇

    • Yeah - and this is something that a lot of employers fail to recognize. There is no single "perfect" working environment for everybody.

      A good company recognizes that it has people (not resources) that work for them. And people aren't predictable little robots.

      This discussion just shows how different everybody's ideal situation is.

    • My most productive work space would be a dead quiet, isolated booth, with someone looking over my shoulder ready to beat me with a stick whenever I procrastinated.