The ‘new normal’ as we called it at the start of the pandemic is here to stay, as many people and companies realised. The pandemic has also affected companies differently, with some selling real estate, others asking workers to stay remote, others asking workers to return at half capacity, and others wanting workers to operate at full force. Whatever the reason, many entrepreneurs and businesses  are still looking for a place to interact in person and hold meetings. 


Many businesses have opted to make use of coffee shops as boardrooms, to hold team meetings and to ensure that the team gets together for interactive  time. Coffee shops can be the perfect place to have these meetings when they are utilised to their full potential. Some coffee shops have decided to create meeting rooms, or rent out their space as a coworking space. Some have even suggested that working or meeting at coffee shops can improve creativity. 


Coffee shops as coworking spaces

Many coffee shops, around the world, have opted to create a work friendly environment. This has been ongoing before the start of the pandemic but the process has been accelerated since then. Coffee shops have become more worker friendly and similar to coworking spaces. This allows users to make use of these spaces as if it were a boardroom or meeting room. 


There are many other reasons why coffee shops turn into coworking spaces. Coworking spaces, for one, offer the opportunity to connect with other freelancers or workers which can ensure relationships that can help these parties prosper. To the users, it also ensures flexibility as they can come and go as they please. It also offers them a chance to make use of the spaces without paying a large fee for rental of the space. They can support the coffee shop by purchasing coffee or other drinks and snacks. 


There are ways to turn your coffee shop into a coworking space, and by doing so you allow your users to make use of your space as if it were a coworking space or a boardroom. With the right set-up, it can allow users to have team meetings, working sessions, or even one-on-one meetings. The possibilities are endless and places like Slow in Sandton know exactly where the gap lies. 


The anti-café

Coffee shops that operate like coworking spaces are known as anti-cafés. Instead of users having to purchase coffee and snacks to gain access to the location they pay for the time spent making use of the space and the rest is complementary. This set-up allows for users to make use of the space as they please. Just like a coworking space, but with better coffee. 


When a coffee shop decides to turn into an ‘anti-café’ it offers them the opportunity to rearrange their seating, as well as the entire layout of the space. Because they are more oriented towards working, they can have meeting rooms where the users can use them like they would have a boardroom. 


It creates convenience for the users, especially for those working remotely. When a whole team works remotely, there is a possibility  that they don’t have an office space. What makes anti-cafés so appealing  is that they allow for flexibility, as you only pay for the time that you use and not a flat fee for rent. These spaces also ensure that all team members are fed, and there is no need to worry about arranging catering or taking along food. 


Coffee shops with meeting rooms

Usually, coffee shops are located within urban areas and in cities surrounded by working people. This allows coffee shops the opportunity to easily implement a room dedicated to meetings for those seeking the space to host face-to-face engagements. 


This will not only be convenient for those seeking a boardroom, but can also ensure extra income for the coffee shop that provides this offering. They can rent out the space to those who wish to make use of it, andalso then offer specials like bottomless coffee and ‘per head’ catering. 


What makes this arrangement great is that it allows for easy access and it creates a comfortable environment where the users can have meetings without disturbing others who are also making use of the space to work. 


Some people are more creative in coffee shops

Many have attested to just being more creative in coffee shops. Big names like Pablo Picasso and JK Rowling created their best work in coffee shops. Now with the pandemic restrictions easing up and vaccines being administered, the opportunity to return back to coffee shops to work is becoming an exciting and appealing option for the ‘work from home’ freelancer or company. 


Studies suggest that ambient noise can stimulate your creativity and allow for better work. One such study published in the Journal of Consumer Research found that ambient noise has a limited effect on human cognition. 


Likewise, the visual aspect allows for stimulation that sparks creativity. When working from home or an office, you are limited to the same desk, the same chair, and the same view. When working from a coffee shop, your seat isn’t guaranteed which switches up your view and stimulates your creativity and cognition in different ways. This is also true for when you make use of different coffee shops for different days to keep yourself stimulated. 


Coffee shops are becoming the new boardrooms because they are easy to access, they allow flexibility and freedom, they are close to urban areas, and they stimulate your cognitive creativity. With the pandemic it also creates a break away from the everyday home routine. With all of these benefits, the real question we should ask is: why shouldn’t coffee shops be used as boardrooms?