Cafe etiquette for freelancers

Hey, how’s it going? It’s been a while since I last shared a post with you and to be honest, I’ve missed writing and sharing my photography and freelancing ideas here.

Quite recently, someone asked me how to find a balance and not feeling guilty about working in cafes and taking the space while doing some work. A very interesting point as there are no written rules about it but there’s an unspoken etiquette that I’ve noticed and like everything else, it comes down to common sense.

It’s a cafe, not an office!

First of all, find a cafe where is suitable to get some work done. If you care about the business and others around you, you’ll choose a cafe where the owner/staff won’t mind having you there. If you’re not sure, just ask them.


Be sensible once you’ve found a cafe to work from,  what you don’t want to do is to set up an office at the table, use the electricity, WIFI and have just one coffee in a full working day. What you want is to build a relationship with the place so you become a regular and they appreciate you being there. Order a coffee every now and then, order food and drinks if the place is getting busy, go outside to make your calls, and tip the staff… don’t be a cheap bastard!

Spending £10 at once doesn’t give you the right to stay for the rest of the day. In some cases, you might but you’re being a twat and everyone in the caf will know you as that.

Remember that it’s a cafe and not your office. That’s why I like to have a variety of places to visit (also because I hate routine) and I don’t want to be perceived as that dude that’s always sitting in the same spot with a laptop and a pile of paperwork over one coffee a day.

Hilton Metropole, Brighton

Don’t consume the bandwidth. Downloading or uploading huge files and streaming movies is definitely not cool! Speaking of WIFI, make sure you keep your data and files safe while on a public WIFI and all that…

Keep it down for the sake of everyone around you

You know what cafe owners, staff and other customers hate? When people working have loud phone conversations, also when they hold long meetings and speak loud and when they turn up at opening time and have to be kicked out at closing time. Again, it’s not your office!

Lost in the Laines

Speaking of meetings, I’ve noticed a few cafes which have the great idea of having a private room for hire at very affordable rates. If you MUST hold a meeting or presentation at a cafe, try to stay ahead of your game and book a private room in a caf.

Make the most out of it

If you like cafe style spaces to get some work done, maybe you can look at Coworking spaces. Personally, I hate coworking spaces and everything that goes with them. I only need a table for a couple of hours once or twice a week and don’t need anyone talking to me other than the barista and cafe owner.

The only thing needing charging is your creativity and your energy so don’t plug your shit into every socket in the cafe. You should have your batteries charged at home before you hit the cafes. Once in a while is fine and understandable but don’t make it a habit.

Black Mocha Brighton

Last but not least, be nice to others and respect the space.

Got any more suggestions? send me your thoughts about them.

Until next time,


Copyright Notice: All photographs are subject to copyright and protected by UK and international law. Total or partial copy and/or reproduction is strictly forbidden. If you wish to use these photographs for personal, editorial or commercial purposes, please get in touch. ©Xavier D. Buendia / Stray Tog

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