I love this SWAT idea, “Solos Working Alone Together”. Amongst all the talk about coworking spaces, this is by far the easiest to setup and could be fun.
Basically, you choose a place and a day or two out of the week where freelancers are invited to go work independently. Kind of a way of concentrating what happens all week anyway. Instead of randomly running into 2-3-4 people during the week (supposing you work in cafes most day), you end up with more people there on purpose to have a chance to help each other out or simply break for lunch at the same time and discuss what’s going on.
In the guy’s post they have an official schedule and location, I think I’ll just “blog call” a spot and time 4-5 days in advance and see if anyone joins me.
(Found on the promising new Web Worker Daily)
I find the whole SWAT idea fascinating, and have wondered in the past: what could cafés do to accomodate SWAT-practising people, while respecting their own interest of serving coffee et al. to customers who just drop-in? In other words, it seems as though most cafés tend to prefer people who come in for 20 minutes for a coffee rather than those who come in for the whole day, camp out, and buy 2 latés over 8 hours. Note that I’m not knocking SWATers—on the contrary, I think this really NEEDS to work, because it’s awesome—just wondering if there is something obvious I’m missing about what cafés should or are doing to better welcome them.
Sorry I didn’t get back to you earlier, there was a server problem when I tried posting the answer and I thought I’d come back to it since then.
I think the one biggest thing cafés can do to kick out or draw SWATers is to offer more or less electricity. The Brûlerie on Mont-Royal is a lot busier since adding extension cords while the Starbucks on the same street has a lot more free chairs since closing the outlets.
I think what someone has to come up with is a way to know how long it’s ok to stay for as a general rule or specifically for each places. The Starbucks for example had people sticking around for 8-9 hours and, in my opinion, unless you eat up a storm, there’s no way that’s acceptable. Instead of having some kind of policy though, they just cut out the juice.
So to draw people, add outlets, to make sure it doesn’t then cost them more than they can “afford” they should display some kind of policy like “please spend at least 5$ every 2 hours” or something. They don’t need to monitor it very tightly, just make it known you can’t just leach off of them and have something to show when they see someone exagerating.
In some cases a wifi source that’s more than an open router could do the trick (code needed every 2 hours for example) but it adds to the cost of offering the service, both for the system and in employee time and it also doesn’t take care of some (most) of the worst offenders who are studying offline. (Sorry to pick on students but it really is what happens)