Simon Round

In the future, we'll all be working at Starbucks

January 10, 2014 15:08

January, as we all know, is detox time, so I’ve been thinking that I should start cutting down on my consumption of that well known Colombian powder which has been in the news so much lately... coffee.

However, while I was sitting in the café contemplating whether I should make my last coffee a mocha, a macchiato, a flat white or a skinny latte, I came across an article on my laptop in which a futurologist predicted that in a few years time, everyone’s office would resemble Starbucks — and in fact their offices might even be Starbucks.

Maybe it was the caffeine rush from my cappuccino and double espresso chaser but I was suddenly very excited. This was a development that would make Jews trendsetters. For years my people have been sitting in coffee shops over a nice slice of chocolate cake when everyone else was sipping mojitos in cool bars. Now, everyone wants to be like us.

I also like the fact that the line between work and leisure has now been blurred — it used to be that you went to the office to work and and then you had coffee and cake. Now you can have coffee and cake with your friends and simultaneously produce a 50-page report —it’s such a time-saver.

Of course, there have always been people who have spent their working days in coffee shops. There are those who make the coffee of course but also a small group of writers and poets who could take their notebooks to a café and create.

However, now Nicola Millard, the BT futurologist, points out that due to high-speed broadband, a large number of people can now work more or less wherever they like as long as they have a laptop and a wifi connection.

Obviously there are some exceptions – if you have a job assembling Nissan Micras, it is unlikely you will be able to do your job effectively at Néro. And if you are a heart surgeon, scrubbing up at Costa might not be practical.

But for so-called “knowledge workers” – people who ponder what is likely to happen, and others who take that kind of research and convert it into frivolous columns – the coffee shop is the future, it seems. If your job is all about pondering things, then what better place to do it than somewhere with a machine which makes gurgling noises at high volume, where parents are chasing toddlers around and where two women are talking in loud voices about what they bought in the sales. That’s why I tend to drink my coffee and go home to work.

It is amazing to contemplate that a drink which, when I was growing up, came out of a jar and didn’t actually taste very nice, could become a driver of the economy. Is it a good thing that we are spending our work time listening to mellow forms of jazz and taking what is known to be a powerful stimulant?

However, it does leave our community with a dilemma. If you’ve spent all day at the cafe and have consumed several coffees, a flapjack and two brownies, then what do you do after work when the last thing you will fancy is more coffee and cake. Anyone for a cup of tea?

January 10, 2014 15:08

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