Working at a Coffee Shop…How to Spot the Best Places to be Productive


Working at a Coffee Shop…How to Spot the Best Places to be Productive

By Derika Crowley

Regardless of where you are in life, it’s essential to have a place where you can decompress, collect your thoughts, work, and just reflect.  Over the past several years that I’ve lived in DC, I discovered how much I enjoy going to coffee shops to do work or to just “get some air” when I need it. 

The thing about coffee shops is that all shops are good spaces to work or relax. There are levels to knowing how to spot the perfect coffee shop to work in; and as you develop into a “coffee shop guru” (self-proclaimed or not) you start to pick up what separates a good shop from an ideal shop.



There are few situations in life more heartbreaking than going to a coffee shop, only to find that there is a.) no space to sit or b.) you have to push your way through narrow alleys of tables (it’s awkward). I have come to appreciate and love when a coffee shop has tons of table space where you can comfortably set up your laptop, notebook, food, and phone to set the atmosphere for you to thrive in your coffee shop visit.

In addition, it’s great when you can sit down without having to feel someone RIGHT next to you. It’s like, Hello…personal space is a thing that exists. Now, I’m not telling you to be a prude, but if you’re one of those people who like to zone out, make sure you select a coffee shop that allows you to feel like you have a whole area to yourself – even if there are also 20+ other people there.



I don’t think anyone has ever complained about too much natural lightning, so this same concept applies to a good coffee shop. Harsh lights or romantic lightning can drain you. You don’t want that adverse effect if you’re using a coffee shop as a work or to relaxation space.

One of my favorite spots in D.C. is Malmaison because it’s always quiet, has beautiful natural lighting, and, on top of that, it offers a great relaxing atmosphere with the purple color scheme and fresh flowers.



If you plan on being in one spot for an extended amount of time, you have to be prepared. Before you even sit down, scope out how many outlets are available and where they are located. Fighting someone over an outlet is never fun.



Similar to a need to have adequate power outlets available, you NEED a place with decent wi-fi. Again, if you plan on being somewhere for hours, it has to be feasible for your needs and wi-fi allows you to have technological access to complete your tasks.



You have to stay energized and be comfortable, right? Going back to my favorite location, Malmaison, another reason I like them is because there is a good brunch selection. During the week, you can dine in their café section and enjoy a selection of light lunch and breakfast options, an array of coffee/lattes, and fresh juices. When the weekend rolls around, they offer brunch on Saturdays from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. and Sundays from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

All these factors and more help contribute the fuel I need to create and function in my everyday life. Setting the proper atmosphere for yourself as you embark on your grind can make a world of difference in the ending result of your labor. Take the time to explore your local coffee shops to elevate your grind to the next level.