Breaking the 9–5 office routine

Ada Ubrezi
6 min readFeb 18, 2017

There is one very simple solution!

When joining my current team, I could’ve never imagined what the people will be like. In three simple words: I LOVE THEM. There is not one day we don’t laugh together or come up with crazy and cool ideas for our projects. In general, we just enjoy the company of each other. However, as much as I love my team I don’t like 9–5 working culture and most of all, our office. I know, first world problems, right?

I’ve never really put too much thought into how your environment can influence your work efficiency, creativity, focus and inspiration. However, after 2 years, 8 hours, 5 days a week among those dull walls put me into a different perspective. Thanks God we have something called ‘home office’ or flex-working.

Being a person that prefers quite an environment when working I thought that home will be the best solution. It turned out to be a total disaster. What else you expect with all the distractions around you.

I decided to take a different approach. Let’s try to work from home, outside of my home. Where? Well, Amsterdam is amazing in providing a number of co-working spaces for all freelancers, start-ups or artists out there. Minus point; to rent a coworking space or a desk can be quite expensive. So unless you plan to spend your salary on paying for your working desk month by month, this is not really an option for you. Pity, though, they look amazing. Maybe later, when I will be filthy rich.

Luckily, a few smart cafe owners spotted the gap on the market and came up with a solution by creating workspaces in cafes. A perfect way to combine your passion for coffee, get some creativity flowing through your brains and get work done.

Oh, one thing. I absolutely hate being distracted when working. Meaning mainly loud noises (funny enough, I have the loudest laugh in the office). Let’s face it: even the loudest people sometimes need it.

At the very beginning, when I started working in cafes, I though I wouldn’t be able to do anything. However, my experience turned out to be completely different. Why is worth trying it out?

  • You will break your office routine.
  • You get to enjoy your favourite drink (in case you are a coffee addict like I am).
  • You will get inspired by the vibe and working buzz around you.
  • You will get to network.
  • You will get to schedule your day entirely as you want (if you are able to do your work in less than 8 hours then be it.
  • You won’t be fully productive during those full 8 hours anyway, don’t fool yourself).
  • You will get to explore your city.
  • You will get your inspiration flowing in!
  • Last but not least, you will simply enjoy your working time again.

You are probably thinking, well this is great, but even if I won’t pay the workspace fee, I will probably need to order a bunch of stuff to have the right to use ‘free’ wi-fi.

Good news! You are not entirely right. The last couple of months I spent working in various café locations around Amsterdam and found a few which won’t cause you or your wallet a heart attack. Here are four cafes, I keep returning to.

Volkshotel (Amstel)

Probably one of the best, free co-working spaces in Amsterdam. Right after you come here you will be struck by the amazing vibe, buzz and atmosphere that is here. Perfect, if you’d like to get out of the office, but also great if you want to bring few colleagues along to hold the meeting. Half of the space is reserved for huge working tables, with a lot of plugs so you never run out of the battery, the other is styled as café suitable for small meetings. Free Wi-Fi granted. And guess what? You don’t event have to buy yourself a drink. Despite not going to the office, I’d recommend you to show up early because this place gets filled quickly, so between 8:30–9:00 am would be ideal. As I said you don’t have to order anything while working here, although I’d still recommend you to go for the red velvet.. why? You try yourself. In case you’ll start to feel really hungry, Drover’s Dog is literally just around the corner. So enjoy Eastenders & enjoy their website.


Coffee Bru (Beukenplein)

If you still want to find your own peaceful working place, outside of a home, this is your hideout. A really cosy place offering some of the best coffee in the town. Free wi-fi and possibility to have your own small working corner without anyone to share with. Coffee bru might be lacking on food options, but when hunger strikes, just pop out and grab something quick in the restaurants located 1 second away on Beukenplein. Check it out for yourself here.

Stek (Wibautstraat)

This is probably my number one place. The fact that it does not look like working space at all makes it even better. Sometimes, the inspiration for your projects comes from where you expect it the least.

Stek on Fridays

For me, STEK is the place. Very friendly staff, delicious coffee & food, cosy atmosphere and free Wi-fi. You literally don’t have to move from here the entire day. On top of this, STEK is conveniently located on the main street, just 1 minute away from the Wibautstraat metro stop. Many great projects and campaigns were born at this place. Oh, I almost forgot, it also serves as a little gallery for the local artists.

Two For Joy early in the morning

Two For Joy Coffee Roasters (West)

One of my recent discoveries. Besides offering one of the best coffees in the town, this place is just perfect for work in the mornings. Besides free wifi you will have a plenty of space to choose from. I really love the music background (The Smiths, Cure, Foo Fighters, etc.). If you have a feeling the music is too loud, just ask them to lower the volume. I had enough luck to meet the owner, who really cares about her customers and tries to meet all their needs. Again very friendly staff and some smashing lemon-poppy seed cake. You are welcome! Find out more.

If you have not tried to work at any of them, I’d strongly recommend you to do so. There has not been one day I regret to come here instead of coming to my office. I hope you’ll feel the same! And don’t worry. Even if there is one time you need to pay for a cup of coffee or a glass of water, it won’t ruin your bank account. And if you have other places to recommend, just write them in the comments below!



Ada Ubrezi

I enjoy researching different topics, occasionally, I’ll turn them into articles.