Coffee Shop Fridays
Here at Mobile Jazz, we place a lot of importance on striking a good work/life balance. An essential part of that is having the freedom to choose where we work from. Sometimes that means spending a few weeks working from Cape Town, but other times it can be as simple as spending a few hours working from a coffee shop.
Finding a Coffee Shop
I’m based in Barcelona and spend my time both working from home and in the office. I also like to end my working week from one of the hundreds of coffee shops around the city. Many of the cafes and bars in Barcelona offer good coffee and free Wi-Fi allowing you to work comfortably for good few hours, the trick though, is finding the right places.
The first thing that comes to mind to most people when searching is Google. And rightly so, you can find a huge list of blogs and websites showcasing the best coffee shops with Wi-Fi. However, they can often repeat themselves and can contain places targeted more towards tourists. So if you’re set on using Google, we’d recommend searching with Google Maps but search in the local language – Cafeteria/Cafetería in Catalan/Spanish respectively.
As you can see there is still a lot of choice, certainly enough to keep you occupied for weeks.
For a more targeted approach, Yelp allows you to filter based on the categories which are most important to you, such as free Wi-Fi, smoking area, parking and so on.
Similar to Yelp, Trip Advisor has a wealth of information about the various bars and restaurants in your local area. Its filtering capability however, is not as nuanced as Yelp. Some users also find the process of leaving a review to be quite painful, which means if someone takes the time to leave one it tends to be either very good or very bad with little in between. This can make it difficult to get a sense of how good or bad a particular venue is.
The relative newcomer, and in our opinion the most useful, is Foursquare. It tackles the review problem by forcing users to keep them short, and like Yelp it categorises them with information such as ‘does it have WiFi’. In general this leads to more useful feedback, with users even sharing things such as Wi-Fi passwords and recommendations for what to eat and drink. Bringing this altogether, the Foursquare rating algorithm combines things such as the number of people who liked a venue, how many people upload pictures and the frequency of returning visitors to provide a more holistic sense of what a venue is like.
Pay by the Minute Concept
As freelancers and self-employed are working longer and longer in coffee shops, there is a new concept of cafe beginning – where everything is free, you just pay for the time you stay. These are catching on in the UK, Russia and Spain, but have yet to be adopted around the world.
Planning for Your Visit
After locating your coffee shop, you must next consider your spot within! Take into account the following things:
- Wi-Fi signal
- Distance from the entrance and bathroom
- Power points
- How comfortable the seating is
It’s important to only bring the necessities with you, this will make it far easier when you need to change venue or if you need to go to the bathroom. It’s always better to be able to pack up quickly.
A Few of Our Favourites
There are a few places around the city we like to visit, but keep these quiet 😉
Wer-Haus is a concept store, part gallery – part shop, with inspiring art, cool clothes and plenty of tables and good coffee and cake! There is also lots of plants around which help to keep things feeling fresh.
Address: Arago 287, 08009 Barcelona
True Artisan Coffee
This place lives up to its name, with a wall full of beautiful La Marzocco espresso machines (for sale by the way), True Artisan Cafe is tucked away in the Born neighbourhood near Arc de Triomf.
Address: Passatge de Sant Benet, 6, 08003 Barcelona
SandwiChez is a small chain and great place if you’re also looking for a bite to eat, with beautiful sandwiches, salads and artisan drinks and snacks.
Address: Ronda de Sant Antoni 35, 08011 Barcelona
An old style coffee shop in El Barri Gòtic close to Jaume I metro between the Gotic and Born neighbourhoods and it has a great Wi-Fi.
Address: Via Laietana, 23, 08003 Barcelona
At Mobile Jazz we feel one way to improve your productivity is to allow yourself to change your working environment. And for some of us there is no better way to do that than a coffee house with a cup of coffee or tea.
This tradition can be a great way to get inspiration and figure out new solutions and approaches. So take your notebook, usb-cable and charger, call your friend for some company and let’s go to the coffee house.
And remember, a happier workplace is a more efficient workplace.