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更新时间:2018-3-11 7:27:23 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

What to Do When Laptops and Silence Take Over Your Cafe?

Kyle Glanville should have been thrilled. All 70 of the outdoor seats at Go Get Em Tiger were taken, only three days after he and his partner opened the cafe in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles.

凯尔·格兰维尔本该非常欣喜若狂。他与合伙人一起在洛杉矶洛斯费利兹一带开的咖啡馆Go Get Em Tiger开业的第三天,70个露天座位全都被预定了。

He was not. “Everybody was at a laptop wearing headphones,” Glanville said. He strode inside, unplugged the device that provided free Wi-Fi and tossed it into a bin in his office.


He wanted a courtyard where people talked to one another, not a silent office for remote workers. And while anyone with a cellphone hot spot could connect without his help, he had made himself clear. On a recent weekday morning, almost a year and a half later, the courtyard was still full of people, but this time they were talking to one another. Only one was at his laptop.


Remote workers have staked out coffee shops for years, but small-business owners say their ranks are rising. In 2016, 43 percent of U.S. employees spent some time working remotely, according to a Gallup survey; the number who telecommute at least half the time has grown by 115 percent since 2005, said a report last year from FlexJobs and Global Workplace Analytics.

远程工作者们已经占领咖啡店多年,但小本经营的商家表示他们的级别在提高。根据盖洛普(Gallup)的一个调查显示,2016年,美国43%的员工有部分时间在远程工作;FlexJobs和全球职场分析公司(Global Workplace Analytics)去年的一则报道称,自2005年以来,至少过半的时间都在远程工作的人数已经有了115%的增长。

Add in the self-employed, and the crowd gets even bigger. And while some still embrace the home-and-pajama model, a large contingent hits the corner cafe.


Starbucks may not feel the pinch, with its multibillion-dollar revenues and legions of grab-and-go customers, but for owners of smaller businesses, the math is grim.


“Three hours for $5 worth of coffee is not a model that works,” said David Wynn, co-owner of Triniti, a tiny cafe that opened two months ago east of Glanville’s place, on Sunset Boulevard in the Echo Park neighborhood.

“买杯5美元的咖啡坐3个小时,这个模式是行不通的,”小咖啡店Triniti的合伙人戴维·威恩(David Wynn)说,他的店两个月前开在回声公园一带的日落大道上开张,在格兰维尔的店东边。

Owners face a choice: Get tough and encourage workers to move, or embrace them and hope that a combination of guilt and loyalty will inspire them to spend more or leave sooner.


It’s hard to know which is the right answer. “There’s no social order here to tell us how to behave,” said Glanville, as if he were contemplating a newly formed nation, which in a way he is. He took a no-tolerance stance on Wi-Fi because a single ground rule seemed more hospitable than a litany of restrictions.


Rich Nieto thought he was being tough enough when he limited workers to a dedicated laptop room at his 25-seat Sweetleaf cafe in Long Island City in the Queens borough of New York City. But when all eight laptop seats were taken one afternoon, a customer simply retired to another room, tore away the wallpaper to expose a purposely covered electrical outlet, and plugged in.

里奇·涅托(Rich Nieto)以为,在自己的纽约皇后区长岛市Sweetleaf咖啡馆内,把25个座席的一部分专门划给工作人士,就已足够强硬。但一天下午,当8个电脑专座都被占满了的时候,一位顾客直接回到了另一个房间,撕下了墙纸,露出一个有意盖住的电源插座,然后接上了插头。

“You can’t win that battle,” said Nieto, who had already learned his lesson the hard way. “The first time I saw someone with a laptop, I said, ‘Sorry, no laptops.’ Right after that, I got a one-star review on Yelp.”


Even companies committed to accommodating remote workers look for ways to improve the relationship.


At Triniti, Wynn offers free Wi-Fi, but after two hours a customer must have “a face-to-face interaction” with an employee, he says, to get a new password. He relies on that interaction and the aromas from the kitchen to transform coffee drinkers into lunch customers, and has been gratified as the first wave of workers has started to order midday meals.


Jason Neroni, the chef and a partner in the Rose Cafe in the Venice neighborhood of Los Angeles, said he was happy to run what he called “a commissary” for the nearby offices of Google, BuzzFeed and Snapchat — this part of the neighborhood is known as Silicon Beach — and for self-employed people.

洛杉矶威尼斯社区玫瑰咖啡馆(Rose Cafe)的厨师兼合伙人杰森·内罗尼(Jason Neroni)表示,他很高兴为附近的谷歌、BuzzFeed和Snapchat等公司的员工以及自雇人士提供了一个他所说的“员工餐厅”。这一带有硅滩(Silicon Beach)之称。

He sees them as the nascent regulars of tomorrow. And with 300 seats, he can afford to invest 85 to 90 cafe and patio seats in the future and still maintain a no-laptop policy in the main dining room.


He employs subtle means to influence the behavior of working customers. Logging in for two hours of free Wi-Fi requires the user’s email address, which goes onto the Rose’s mailing list. And while people can log right back in, the expiration reminds them that it might be time to order another round.


Servers circulate to ask if they can get something else for a customer tied to his electronic devices. And Wi-Fi service ends at 5:30 p.m., to signal that the workday has ended and dinner service is about to begin.


Neroni tried extending the Wi-Fi until 7 one night, “as an experiment,” he said. “People looked up and figured we forgot to turn it off. And it was ‘Oh, boy,’ and a line of people carrying their open laptops into the dining room so they could keep working.” He reminded the disappointed throng of the dining-room no-laptop policy and resumed the 5:30 cutoff.


Like most cafes, the Rose doesn’t provide electrical outlets; a dwindling battery should be a sign that it’s time to go.


Some remote workers have gotten the message, and try to do their part. Jocelyn Johnson, who founded VideoInk, a digital trade publication about online video, relies on remote work sites including the Rose. She has defined a code of conduct to prove herself a good citizen.

一些远程办公人员明白这个意思,并尽力做好自己的本分。创办了有关在线视频的数字行业刊物VideoInk的乔斯林·约翰逊(Jocelyn Johnson)依赖包括玫瑰在内的远程办公场所。她制定了一套行为准则,以此证明自己是一个好市民。

Her self-imposed rules include working in one cafe or restaurant no more than three mornings a week, for no more than three hours at a stretch. She always orders a coffee and pastry, and frequently a lunch to go. Then she packs up and heads to another spot on her preferred list.


The only casualty of the plan is her social life, which she had hoped might include the Rose as well: She tried a weekend brunch there, only to realize that it felt too much like the office.


“I couldn’t enjoy myself,” she said. “I kept feeling that I ought to be working.”