So a couple of weeks ago I read the articles about laptop hobos and coffee shop etiquette. I'd even writing a lengthy post of my own, that I didn't post. I'd decided to shelve it, that is until today. I was meeting with a client at my local Panera. We'd chosen a non-rushhour time and purchased snacks to nosh on as we caught up. There were many people hanging out chatting - in person, along with a good number of those meeting or working on their laptops. I even saw a Panera employee helping a customer get their tablet connected to the free wifi. The whole scene brought me back to the laptop hobo article.
The post I'd drafted had a note of sadness as what I perceived as a loss of common courtesy and in human social interaction. After today's experience, I am no longer sad as it is not gone just a little dusty. Real-world human social interactions are alive and well at local coffee shops, even it there are "laptop hobos" present. In the articles read I don't recall seeing anything about traditional workers were being transitioned to mobile/desk sharing/laptop hobo workers. As so many companies moving toward workers not having an office to go to, many may be adjusting and have not quite figured out what or where to go.
Perhaps on the splash page that requires click-through before proceeding to the internet the first, it could include a remind of the "rules" that must be acknowledged. I'd hate to see the interaction witnessed to be squashed because the actions of a few. One resource that could be considered for the longer work periods, especially if not interested in noshing the entire time is the library. For instance, the Arlington Heights Memorial Library in Arlington Heights, IL recently went through a renovation. The end result is several tables, chairs and couches with electrical outlets directly underneath - no more search for a wall or a column for the lone plug. The number of meeting rooms has increased and with a library card can be reserved pretty easily with varying sizes to available. While I did see a little snack area it is not like coffee shop but one of the complaints is that the laptop hobos were not only camping out but they weren't buying anything, so the little snack area is fine. The one thing to remember is that it is still a library so headphones for videos and no loud cellphone calls.
I hope that with a little education/reminder that all can co-exist. I would like to see more of the sharing and chatting I saw today, even if some of us had laptops in front of us.
Lastly, I mentioned at the beginning of this post that I'd read a few articles about laptop hobos, I won't bore you with entire list, but here are a couple you might find interesting.
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