• Menu
  • Menu

Why Are Digital Nomads No Longer So Welcome In Barcelona & Valencia?

Digital nomads are hogging coffee shop tables in Barcelona and Valencia in Spain
Digital nomads are hogging coffee shop tables in Barcelona and Valencia in Spain [Image by rawpixel from Pixabay]
Digital nomads are becoming part of a major movement, with many countries offering digital nomad visas to encourage them to visit. However, two Spanish cities are angry at the remote workers or “telecommutors.” It started with Barcelona and then moved to Valencia, where coffee shops have had enough. In one report relating to digital nomads, a coffee shop claimed, “They pay for a coffee and occupy a table for eight hours.” Clearly, this isn’t good for any business, but what can be done to stop this?

Digital nomads hog coffee shop tables in Spain

Remote worker in a coffee shop
Digital nomads [Image by rawpixel from Pixabay]
Many people are joining the trend of being a digital nomad, visiting far-off lands and earning a living wherever they please. It started during the pandemic, when many people had to work from home and then the idea caught hold and continued..

Meanwhile, what is becoming an increasing trend is for digital nomads to sit down at a table in a café, order one coffee, then open their laptop and happily work away without buying anything further. This clearly isn’t good for business, at least for the coffee shop anyway.

The trend has seen many freelancers and remote workers, traveling the world while working. In the case of people from northern Europe, they take advantage of Spain’s digital nomad visa to live and work in a warmer environment. While this may sound like paradise, the remote workers are not respecting other businesses.

Ban on remote working

Departure Coffee Co. in Raval, Barcelona, Spain
Departure Coffee Co. in Raval, Barcelona, Spain [Image @departurecoffeeco on Instagram]
In a recent report by La Vanguardia, coffee shops have a problem with the digital nomads hogging tables for hours, all for the price of one cup of coffee. It should be borne in mind that – outside of Starbucks – an average cup of coffee in Spain costs €1.50 (around $1.50).

Some in Barcelona and Valencia have banned what the news outlet calls a “species on the rise” from working on their premises, at least during peak hours.

Meanwhile, back in Barcelona, the situation has become unsustainable for the hospitality sector. Speaking to Barcelona Secreta, Raquel Llanes, the manager of Departure Coffee Co. in the city’s Raval neighborhood, explained that the situation is 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.

Wi-Fi restrictions imposed

Due to the abuse, bar and café owners are starting to impose restrictions. In Valencia, some have placed signs on their tables, stating that digital nomads, or what they term “telecommuters,” are banned from working there between 8 am and midday. By doing so, the cafés hope to prevent them from hogging a table during the busiest times of the day when customers want breakfast and no tables are available.

We have no wi-fi
“We don’t have Wi-FI. Talk among yourselves” in a coffee shop in Colombia [Image by Joe Ross on Wikimedia Commons]
Meanwhile, other business owners are using a less friendly method by turning off the Wi-Fi network in the café during peak hours. La Vanguardia quoted a worker at one of the cafés saying:

The owner has removed the Wi-Fi to avoid precisely these situations. People sat down and didn’t leave.

Meanwhile, Llanes in Barcelona says, “This is not a library, it’s a coffee shop,” adding, “Since we banned telecommuting we have improved our numbers and also the atmosphere in our coffee shop.”

Llanes added that their sign reads, “We don’t have laptops here, but we do have good coffee.”

Hopefully, as more and more coffee shops react to the situation, the digital nomads at fault will see the error of their ways.



Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *