Don’t give dirty looks to crying babies or be a table-hogger. Those are just two of the main tips from Debrett’s new guide for the remote working world – specifically, the etiquette one should follow when working from a café.
The 253-year-old British institution has delved into this very modern phenomenon, with a new guide titled Cafe Rules for Digital Nomads. In it, Liz Wyse, Debrett’s etiquette adviser, explains that you should make sure you order food and drink regularly when working from a café, and always wear headphones when watching a video.
‘Cafes need turnover to make a profit, so you must not turn into a table-hogger, who nurses a single cup of coffee while other customers come and go,’ Debrett’s advises. ‘If you’re settling in for the long haul, order food and drink at regular intervals.’
You must also not get annoyed with people who are there for a café’s primary function: to socialise. ‘You must never look askance at your near neighbours because their animated conversation or crying baby is playing havoc with your concentration. That is your problem, not theirs,’ the advice continues.
As for video calls, Debrett’s advises they are generally a no-go. ‘You should avoid video calls or conferences when you are working in a cafe, as you will look unprofessional,’ said Wyse. ‘You don’t want colleagues or clients to get the impression that you are casual about your work commitments.
‘If circumstances arise where you have no choice and have to join a video call, explain where you are and apologise for your backdrop. When you are not speaking always remember to mute the sound, otherwise you will deafen your colleagues with clattering coffee cups and chattering customers.’
Café owners have had a mixed reaction to the rise of hybrid-working culture. For some, it has meant extra business, but others have been forced to ban laptops at certain times.