Food Box

Give HR a coffee break.
Image: Tiffany Riddell

The DOs & DON’Ts of Lattes and Laptops

Coffice Rules

A very real set of the working population is turning coffee shops into their go-to offices. It’s a mobile trend we’ve written about before–the coffice–that modern businesses are quickly keying into, brewing free Internet on tap as a selling point (see local cafes like Coffee Talk, R&D and Fresh Café).

There’s no right way to coffice, but there are many unspoken rules. As I type this up right now at the Starbucks Manoa, three we’ve listed below are already being broken! Like that cup of brew next to your keyboard, consider these a friendly wake-me-up.

DO purchase something! (This is the most obvious, but you’d be surprised.) Now that that’s out of the way…

DO have a mission. Set yourself a virtual deadline to get something done. This is your coffice, not a staycation.

DON’T feel so entitled. Sorry to blow your mind in 0.47 seconds, but I’m about to unleash a Matrix eye-opener here: Coffices aren’t “real.” I don’t care if you’re sitting next to a guy on his cell or a group of super high-strung Christian chicks discussing love and relationships pretending to be in an episode of No Sex & The City–this is not your space. Save the passive-agressive looks for one that is like, I don’t know, your apartment?

DON’T combine tables for just you and all your stuff. There’s really nothing more infuriating than seeing people standing around waiting for a table that could be empty. Silicon Valley is a state of mind. Not a physical creation.

DO invite someone over to sit at your table if they’re obviously wallflower-ing for a table. I get we live on a rock floating in the Pacific, but this is Hawaii, not Ellis Island. Aloha spirit, y’all!

DON’T be attractive. Kidding/not kidding. Perfect bone structures don’t really mesh well with productivity. Crushes can really mess with the coffice vibes.

DON’T bring in your plate lunch. Most of these cafés have food. (See first “DO” on this list.)

DON’T YouTube, Hulu or watch/listen to various media onspeaker. Excuse me, have you heard of earphones? Hello? Check 1, 2, 3? IS THIS NEWSPAPER ON?!?!

DO step out of the coffice “cubicle” every now and again to remind yourself what coffee shops were originally about just four or five years ago. Leave the laptop at home, invite a friend for a latte and have a conversation. A coffee shop where people used to actually talk to each other. Remember those?