Cafes and work do not mix says Middle East workers

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GarryGurtler, VP, MEA, Regus
GarryGurtler, VP, MEA, Regus

Coffee shops good for occasional drop in, but not regular work location, says 26,000-strong Regus survey

In the Middle East security of belongings, privacy of documents and noisy customers are the top turnoffs for people working in coffee shops, according to a new survey from Regus amongst 26,000 businesses in over 90 countries. This contrasts with previous Regus research findings where 64% of business people globally turned to professional business centres to provide a business-like, productive environment.

The business pundit’s new darling is ‘coffee shop working’. And it sounds tempting: free Wi-Fi, a ‘buzzing’ environment, and permanent access to a delicious cappuccino.  But is the coffee shop really an ideal place to work from?  Regus put the question to business people across the world to find out.  The answer is a resounding “no”. We all recognise that it’s great to be able to drop in to a coffee shop when you’re out and about and get some work done, send a few emails, or have a quick catch up with a colleague. However, respondents to this survey made it quite clear that coffee shops cannot be the norm, as they are neither productive, nor secure nor professional.

Amongst the list of draw-backs for coffee shop working are loud fellow-customers disturbing telephone calls and (of course) lack of printers, scanners or regular office equipment – hardly making business easier. Globally, baby boomers (60%) are far more likely to snub the coffee shop as an unprofessional setting for client meetings than casual gen-Y (48%) and find it harder to concentrate in this type of environment than younger workers. Nosy eavesdroppers are an issue regardless of generation.

Key Statistics

  • For workers in the Middle East the biggest coffee shop drawbacks are:
    • Having to look after belongings at all times (77%)
    • Privacy of documents and conversations (72%)
    • Noisy customers disturbing their productivity (60%)
    • Lack of access to company documents (60%)
  • 57% think that a lack of access to office equipment is a disadvantage while 57% also say that background chatter disturbs their telephone calls
  • Globally, baby boomers (60%) are more likely to see coffee shops as an unsuitable place to meet clients than gen-Y (48%).

Garry Gürtler, VP for Middle East and Africa comments: “Trendy business pundits have been claiming that working from coffee shops is becoming increasingly popular, and we all know that the occasional visit for cappuccino with a side-serving of Wi-Fi can come in very handy.  However, our latest research shows that, while it may suit for short spells, working for any length of time from a coffee shop can seriously affect productivity. Our previous research has shown that 72% of people globally find flexible working makes them more productive – but this is only in a professional, flexible workspace – as evidenced by our respondents’ views on low coffee shop productivity. At Regus, we frequently have people coming to us for a proper flexible workspace, after they have found that these trendy alternatives just don’t work for them. This study now provides hard evidence to back up our anecdotal experience. A productive workspace can’t be obtained in a coffee-and-cake atmosphere. ”

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