Coffee shops often strike the perfect balance between a productive place to get work done and just enough background noise that can actually make people much more creative.
In fact, you might be surprised at how many successful people work in coffee shops. Pablo Picasso and author JK Rowling are among those who found coffee shops to be a great place to work.
How coffee shops boost creativity
While a high level of noise can cause harmful distractions, low to moderate noise levels may help to spur more abstract thinking.
Moderate noise levels cause processing difficulty which, according to the study, leads to more “abstract processing and greater creativity”.
Most coffee shops have around 70 decibels of noise, which happens to be when most human beings feel connected, happy, and creative.
In fact, some research suggests that certain noises can also help to improve our moods as well as our creative thinking. For instance, music in coffee shops can easily help boost our moods, and even the scent of coffee has a way of stimulating the right-hand side of our brains, which is responsible for feeling, understanding, and more creative processing.
And believe it or not, coffee shops can help to reduce distractions.
Removing ourselves from the confines of an office also removes office distractions, such as coworkers stopping by to chat or ask us questions or that annoying pencil-tapping habit of that guy in the next cube over that bugs the heck out of you.
Office distractions have a much bigger impact on our productivity than we probably think. In fact, even the smallest distractions can quickly derail productivity.
Also, other people working from the same coffee shop form a mental connection with each other, and we feed off of the energy of those around us. Similar to feeling motivated when we see other people working out at the gym or reading at the library, watching other people work from a coffee shop can help us to feel more motivated and inspired to do the same.
In addition, the novelty of working from a coffee shop releases dopamine, a chemical responsible for improving our overall level of happiness and motivation. We find novelty through new things, experiences, and even the places that we visit.
Working from a coffee shop instead of a traditional office can offer our brains significant new stimuli every time we visit. In contrast, a traditional office with its color-neutral palate and predictable smells and noises offers little new stimuli.
Novelties have also been linked to improvements in our learning and cognitive memory because our brains like to see and think about new things. The differences in customers, noises, smells, and sensations in coffee shops constantly give us new things to notice and experience.
As a result, working from a variety of different coffee shops can significantly boost the novelty of surroundings every workday. Each coffee shop will offer its own unique vibe, place settings, tables, colors, noises, and clientele.
If you are able to work remotely (and COVID-19 restrictions haven’t closed coffee shops), consider masking up and working from a local cafe. The change in visual stimulation might be just what you need to boost your work creativity.