Qual-Box Blog

Café by the hour - A manifesto for the free-range worker

Two years ago, I quit my job as a market research VP, moved to the West Coast and started my very own market research business. One of the exciting perks of being my own boss has been the ability to work from anywhere or, as I like to call it, flex space. I work with collaborators across the country who have also adopted the free-range office.

Some are at their best in a quiet, peaceful environment. While I do enjoy this at times, when it comes to writing, I feel most inspired in a busy, caffeine-infused environment. I routinely take my laptop to the many wi-fied cafés of Victoria. However, I never stay more than an hour or two, knowing that their business model is based on selling drinks and edibles, not workspace.

But what if that business model were to change? Self-employment is steadily growing in Canada (StatsCan). Many are on the lookout for occasional informal workspaces where they would be welcome.

It turns out that some cafés owners are listening. Anticafé and Café Coffice in Montreal both rent workspace by the hour. In the UK and Russia, Ziferblat charges time by the minute but offers complimentary snacks and coffee.

Could this be the second coming of the Internet café? This free-range worker certainly hopes so!