Good morning! Hope you all had a great weekend. The weather was pretty miserable here over the weekend, which meant I spent a lot of time in coffee shops! In fact, I am sitting in one right now!
This got me thinking about the creative benefits of working from a coffee shop.
J.K. Rowling penned the first Harry Potter novel in the Elephant House café in Edinburgh. Les Deux Magots in Paris inspired some of the most creative work of Hemingway, Sartre and Picasso. Cafes have been places of business for centuries and some of the biggest deals in recent years have been made over a skinny latte or two.
Aside from the good coffee and free WiFi, an army of laptop-wielding working nomads, freelancers, remote workers and office escapees find enormous creative benefits in working from a coffee shop.
Every once in a while, I’ll get out of the office myself and decamp to write in a coffee shop. I love the buzz, the energy, and I find that a change of scene and the hustle and bustle actually helps get the creative juices flowing.
Plus, after my days as a barista, coffee shops feel like my second home!
Creative Benefits of the ‘Noise’
Let’s face it, a coffee shop can’t compete with the quiet hush of an office environment – the bangs and hisses of the coffee machine, the chit-chat of the customers and the soft, ambient music in the background amount to a hum that could be distracting.
But that’s where the creativity lies.
A new study has proven that environments with a little ambient noise can stimulate ideas and heighten creativity. Researchers found that, compared to a quiet environment (50 decibels of noise), a coffee shop level of noise (70 decibels of noise) enhanced subjects ability to perform creative tasks.
“Instead of burying oneself in a quiet room trying to figure out a solution, walking out of one’s comfort zone and getting into a relatively noisy environment may trigger the brain to think abstractly, and thus generate creative ideas”
Ironically, a little noise actually helps me focus more on what I’m doing. It helps drown out distracting thoughts and procrastination, and the stimulation all around me helps fire creativity and ideas. Everyone can see if you’re on Facebook, or surfing news websites instead of working. Although they’ll never say, their presence is like a little voice in your head telling you to get back to work! Having people around also inspires you to be more productive, strangely:
“There is some sense of feeling that you are on public show and that having made the trip out to the coffee shop in order to work you are duty bound to focus”
Providing your company culture and working environment allow for it, a change of scene, some fresh air and good coffee can refresh your mind, and the gentle buzz of a busy coffee shop is proven to aid creativity.
So next time your boss questions why you are going to work in a coffee shop for an hour or two, show them this. They can’t argue with science, right?
Thanks for reading! Does working in a coffee shop help you with creative ideas and a productive workflow? We’d love to hear about your experiences, as well as your favourite coffee shops where you are. Tweet us @GreenerMediaUK or leave us a comment in the section below.
Have a great week, and join me again next week for another coffee column, when I’ll ask “How Fair is Fairtrade?”