My Coffee Shop - My Office

May 30, 2011

We’ve covered the subject of many workers choosing the coffee shop as their office and workspace. Now the UK’s Independent comes to fill in fascinating details from history, so we know what famous writers actually set the precedents. The article starts by telling the story of one Ed Lloyd of London coffee shop fame. During the late 1600’s, his shop gradually became a business hub. Insurance brokers were just one type of business customer. His humble shop morphed into Lloyd’s of London, the renowned insurance company. This story inspired the article’s great line: “People don’t only drink coffee at work; they work while drinking coffee.” Besides a place to conduct business, coffee shops help some writers to concentrate better. It’s not just the drinking of and breathing in of caffeine, but to some, it’s more professional and conducive to working. Some also thrive on the interaction with people rather than the solitary atmosphere of a home office. Some Starbucks franchises have actively sought entrepreneurial types by putting in extra plugs and tables, offering free Wi-Fi as part of a rewards program. More incredibly, working events are developing from the coffee shop unofficial office workers. One leader in working from home, through her website, started “Jellies”. No, she doesn’t sell a sweet concoction. Rather, starting in New York in 2006, she began bringing individual workers together to share ideas and counteract the isolation of self-employment. Sitting around a reserved table sharing ideas, in different combinations all day, they ended up buying food too, making the shop quite happy. The article concludes with a list and stories of famous writers who wrote from coffee shops. Did you know an Edinburgh coffee shop posts a sign stating “Harry Potter Born Here” next to a photo of JK Rowling writing on a pad? Hemingway, Sartre and Camus wrote in the same French shop, in which Picasso also enjoyed a few cups of coffee. Can’t get much more literary than that. So if you write or work in local coffee shops, you might want to copy the article’s list and take it with you. Show it to the shop owners if you get hassled. After all, who knows who might just write the next must-have book? The next novel’s hero could be born at any moment at a coffee shop near you. Raise your mug to that one. Cheers!



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