Independent workers--the variety that aren't stationed in the client's office--basically have three work environment options (I won't count public parks with wi-fi signal, yet). Ranked from least overhead cost to greatest, those options are: work at home, work at the local coffee shop, or rent a coworking space. Freelancer David Sax was always a firm believer that spending money on mochas was a waste, and that sweatpants made for great work-wear, until he spent a week working in Atlas Cafe, surrounded by other laptop-based students, artists, and solopreneurs. In the end, he found that the laptop-strewn coffee shop, once considered a place for socializing and hashing out world-changing ideas, was in fact the perfect library / corporate work environment:
Laptopistan provides structure, and freelancers, like children, secretly crave structure. You come to work, for two or four or eight hours, and you take comfort in the knowledge that everyone else is there to work as well.
Read the story of his conversion from MacBook Anthropologist to naturalized Laptopistonian on the NYT website. But what I want to know is, what do you think? Where do you work best? Are freelancers ruining coffee shops, or are coffee shops saving freelancers?