By Daniel Hunter
British entrepreneurs are shunning coffee shops as a place to do business due to noise and security worries, according to a survey of 500 entrepreneurs.
The majority of entrepreneurs (87%) said they now think twice about working out of coffee shops, according to the research from The Office Group. Nearly half (47%) cite the increasingly noisy environment which is impacting productivity. While for 62% the biggest problem is the risk of having a laptop with valuable intellectual property (IP) on it stolen.
Worryingly, over a quarter of entrepreneurs (26%) have had at least one valuable item stolen whilst working out of a coffee shop. Of these, mobile phones, laptops, bags, wallets and memory sticks were among the most common items to be taken. This equates to the average start up losing approximately £700 every year as a result of having valuables stolen.
Coffee shop noise
In addition to security concerns, entrepreneurs said they are ending the coffee shop commute due to an increase in noise levels. According to the research, the majority of the noise comes from young people and babies. For example, one respondent agreed to meet a client in a coffee shop only to find a local sixth form college had finished early for the day.
As part of the research, The Office Group measured the noise levels in leading coffee shops across London. Cafe Nero was found to have the highest levels of noise at 86 decibels which is equivalent to an alarm clock going off.
Those surveyed also voiced concerns about the lack of privacy in coffee shops which could result in IP theft with over half of entrepreneurs (54%) finding the lack of privacy the biggest annoyance about working out of a coffee shop. Over a third of entrepreneurs (37%) said they worry someone will steal business ideas by looking over their shoulder, or listening into a private call.
“Coffee shops used to be a good option if you’d just started your business and needed somewhere to work from," Olly Olsen, Co CEO of The Office Group, said.
"But increasingly entrepreneurs are demanding an alternative. By buying a £2.60 drink every hour, coffee shop commuters are spending up to £390 a month to work in an undesirable environment. Aside from the security, lack of privacy and noise issues, the numbers just don’t stack up. That’s why we’ve listened to feedback from start ups and launched a flexible office space membership scheme for entrepreneurs and mobile workers called The Club.”
Launched today (Monday), The Club offers entrepreneurs and mobile workers an alternative by supplying a considered, design-led shared working environment where they can work in a way that suits them. From £35 per month, The Club responds to all the issues people have when working out of coffee shops. It features laptop anchor points to secure important hardware if entrepreneurs need to leave their desks, private booths for confidential calls, superfast broadband, lockers to store valuables, free printing and scanning services, showers plus an apartment if members need to stay over.
In addition, members can take advantage of a virtual office, with dedicated receptionists on hand to deal with incoming mail, switchboard enquiries, meeting room requests and other day-to-day logistics, plus use the building as their registered business address — giving the nation’s entrepreneurs a professional edge.
The first Club location at Warnford Court, close to the Bank of England in the heart of London’s financial district, offers space for small, medium and large firms to work in privacy when they need it or interact with each other. The Club is also set to open in five major train stations across London, following a recent Network Rail deal. The first of these ‘rail hubs’ will open at Paddington Station in June. In addition to Warnford Court and the rail hub offices, The Office Group plans to open Club spaces in several other central London sites. With members able to move between locations, The Club provides entrepreneurs and mobile workers with a network of offices to work from.
Lloyd Dorfman, Travelex Founder, Chairman and backer of The Office Group, commented: “I acquired The Office Group because I felt the time has come for the flexible office to make its permanent mark as a truly viable property option. This research has shown how difficult it is to get a few hours’ work done in a coffee shop, and whilst the cost of permanent office space is pricing these users out of the market: The Club ensures entrepreneurs have access to everything they need without paying for a space they don’t use all the time.”
James Maskell, Managing Director of Vinetrade, moved from working out of a coffee shop to The Club. He said: “Moving into The Club was one of the best business decisions I’ve made. I regularly used to work in a coffee shop but the noise was intolerable. I was always worrying about the lack of privacy, particularly because I deal with sensitive data and high net worth individuals. However, I now have a professional space to work in and have the best of both worlds — peace and quiet, and other like-minded entrepreneurs to bounce ideas off when I’m in the mood.”
Aside from worries over noise and security, finding a space to sit down and connect to the coffee shop wifi also causes entrepreneurs headaches. Almost two thirds of respondents (60%) struggle to find somewhere to sit down and work, while only 21% said they could get a reliable wifi connection.
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