Café-as-workspace is so common now that even my 91 year old dad will ask whether I worked at home, office or café today. But café owners have a different decision — accede to laptops and staring faces, ban them, or figure out some mid-way policy like limited or paid wifi.
Taking a different route, one of my local spots, Cafe Réveille, added these little signs on tables a few weeks ago:
These friendly little messages encourage sharing of limited tables and even a hello and eye-contact with a stranger, old-school style. It doesn’t prevent caffeinated screen-users from setting up camp but it makes everyone feel welcome.