The Etiquette For Working In A Cafe

Social site Mashable brings up a good etiquette topic: Working in cafes without being annoying. Whether you're just checking emails quickly, using it as an office to work on your time travel screenplay, or somewhere in between, there are no real written rules to guide your behaviour. So what should you do to use their facilities guilt-free?

Photo by Zhiltsov Alexandr/Shutterstock.

Here's a rough guideline of dos and don'ts, some taken from Mashable and experts that they consulted and some from our experience.


  • Buy a drink every 2-3 hours. Mashable's experts say that this is the sweet spot, but we'd lean more towards two hours, or even an hour and a half, depending on how busy the store is. If it's rather empty, you have more leeway.
  • Buy food when it's lunch or dinner time
  • Use headphones if you need to listen to audio
  • Throw away your own rubbish after you're done
  • Keep all your belongings next to you in a compact area


  • Stay for more than four hours without buying something.
  • Camp a table if the store is busy
  • Hold long meetings, especially if they are loud
  • Take or make loud phone calls, especially if there are others trying to work too
  • Stay the entire day like it's your office. If you really must work in a cafe all day, relocate to another one after about four hours
  • Take more than one seat
  • Hog a lot of bandwidth on the Wi-Fi
  • Ask staff to watch your stuff, if the cafe is busy

Coffee Shop Etiquette [Mashable]


    That girl looks like Eliza from DX:HR

    What a great topic. I'd agree with all of those (sometimes it's ok to spend the whole day in one cafe, but best to ask first I think). But I'd point out that if a cafe is really empty, your presence is a benefit - they'd much rather have a couple of people than noone at all. In general it's good to chat a bit with the waiters, to get a feel for how they feel about your presence.

    Having someone watch your stuff while in the toilets is always awkward. I usually ask another customer, and if I'm iffy, I just take my laptop with me.

    DO: Throw this rule book out the window the moment you get out of customs in mainland China. The cafe/restaurant will even continue to offer you hot or cold water as you continue to sit there, without buying anything beyond your first cup of coffee, leeching their Wifi hotspot... it's just the way things work there.

    This comment has been deemed inappropriate and has been deleted

    but she's sporting a generic looking tablet that almost like an ipad but without the logo....sue her apple !!!

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