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Coffee shop squatters: digital nomads no longer welcome

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Photo: Shutterstock / GaudiLab


It started in Barcelona then moved to Valencia, Spain s coffee shops are angry with the explosion of digital nomads, They pay for a coffee and occupy a table for eight hours said one report.


The situation has become increasingly common in recent years: someone sits down in a café, orders a coffee, opens his or her laptop and spends the whole morning teleworking without consuming anything else.


The advent of remote working has made it possible for both freelancers and employees to work from anywhere. This has led to workers from northern Europe taking advantage of Spain s digital nomad visa to move to warmer climes.


Teleworking banned

As reported in La Vanguardia, coffee shops now have a problem, with teleworkers occupying tables for hours all for the price of one cup of coffee. Some coffee shops in Valencia and Barcelona have now banned teleworking for their customers, at least during peak hours.


In Barcelona, the situation has become unsustainable for the city s hospitality sector. Raquel Llanes, manager of Departure Café, in the heart of Barcelona s Raval, explained to Barcelona Secreta that the situation had got out of control: We have had customers who have ordered an espresso and sat for eight hours, people who have asked us to turn down the music so they can have meetings, customers who took out their tupperware to eat .


Faced with this abuse of the hospitality, bar and café owners have begun to impose restrictions. In Valencia, some establishments have posted signs on tables indicating that teleworking is prohibited between 8am and midday. The measure aims to prevent customers from occupying a table during the busiest times of the day when customers come for breakfast and find all the tables occupied.


WiFi turned off

Others have opted for less friendly, but equally effective systems: turning off the WiFi network of the premises during peak hours. The owner has removed the Wi-Fi to avoid precisely these situations. People sat down and didn t leave , says a worker at one of the cafés in the report by La Vanguardia.


This is not a library, it s a coffee shop , said Raquel Llanes in Barcelona, adding that, since we banned teleworking we have improved our numbers and also the atmosphere in our coffee shop. As our sign says, We don t have laptops here, but we do have good coffee’ .


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Written by
Kevin Fraser Park
Kevin was born in Scotland and worked in marketing, running his own businesses in UK, Italy and, for the last 8 years, here in Spain. He moved to the Costa del Sol in 2016 working initially in real estate. He has a passion for literature and particularly the English language which is how he got into writing.


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