In the workforce, coffee has always been an indispensable beverage often identified as an effective way to boost employees’ alertness and work outputs. It is one of the most popular beverages in the world. In fact, the British Coffee Association reports that 95 million cups of coffee is consumed every single day in the UK alone.
With coffee’s undeniable popularity, it’s no wonder it also has its share of critics. Some argue that coffee breaks cost companies a significant amount of lost employee time. This is linked to lost productivity which may prompt business owners to rethink how they implement coffee breaks.
Coffee breaks can become problematic when they start to be too frequent and take longer than necessary. This often happens when employees need to manually brew the coffee themselves or when they go out of the office to order their cup from an outside coffee shop.
The coffee shop option means they would need to leave the office, queue in line, order, wait for the drink to be made, walk back to the office and then drink their coffee. This can take around 15 to 20 minutes on average, but longer if one employee is ordering for a group of co-workers. A study even revealed that British workers spend 18 hours a year popping out to get a coffee from shops.
However, while it is true that coffee breaks take employees away from their desks, they also have many benefits that work towards the company’s advantage. When every single minute is added up, coffee break time may seem significantly high but compared to the benefits they deliver, coffee breaks are still worth that time.
What can business owners do to minimise lost productivity time while still keeping their employees happy? One great way is to provide employees with a coffee machine in-house. There are now coffee machines for business that are specifically designed to dispense a large volume of coffee in a very short period of time.
There are different types of coffee machines available, but bean to cup coffee machines are a great option because the employees can get their cup of coffee with just a push of a button. This is a time saving aspect because employees do not need to manually brew coffee, train how to operate the machine or go to a coffee shop. Most of these machines also offer multiple gourmet coffee recipes like lattes, cappuccinos, espresso, and even tea so they can cater to more picky employees.
For some business owners who are still not convinced why providing an office coffee machine is an ideal solution, it’s important to look at the different advantages of how coffee breaks help with the runnings of a business, including some of its overlooked benefits.
Contrary to the popular belief that time away from the office desk means less productivity, there have been numerous studies showing that micro breaks can actually boost productivity more.
Tony Schwartz, head of productivity consulting firm The Energy Project said that without any downtime to refresh or recharge, people can be less efficient, make more mistakes and get less engaged. He also pointed out the clear link between overstressed employees and poor performance.
Giving employees the time for a quick coffee break is a chance for them to recharge and refocus so that when they get back to their work stations, they can think more clearly about their tasks at hand.
It is quite common for employees to feel bored or sleepy especially during mid-morning or mid-afternoon. This can cause them to slow down and even if they are seated at their desks, it is not unusual to find them spaced out or sluggish.
Having a short coffee break can solve this issue. Caffeine has been proven to improve the alertness level of employees by silencing the sensors in the brain that signals sleepiness. For some, even just a whiff of coffee can wake them up.
As a result, alert employees are more productive and less likely to commit damaging mistakes.
Missed deadlines, forgotten tasks and instructions that were misunderstood… these are worse productivity killers that can also cost a business expensively. If businesses want to avoid these and boost employees’ performance, caffeine might just be the solution.
Indulging in coffee breaks can help employees remember their tasks better. This has actually been proven by science! A study conducted at John Hopkins University revealed that drinking coffee can enhance memory.
Coffee also increases the energy levels in the brain which aids in improving focus, problem solving skills and cognitive abilities.
Happy employees are productive employees, and studies have shown that relationships with colleagues is one of the main factors that affect an employee’s job satisfaction, happiness and health. Lack of employee happiness can lead to a toxic, less productive work culture.
Why do employees develop poor relationships? This is often caused by misunderstandings especially when they don’t have the time to get to know one another better.
For example, an innocent short email response may be misunderstood as an attacking one if the person receiving it is not aware of a person’s direct manner. These kind of misunderstandings can be avoided by improving communication among employees outside of meetings, emails or phone calls.
This is where coffee breaks come in. Usually, employees are always engaged in talks about work, but coffee breaks offer a chance for co-workers to socialise and foster a sense of community and trust.
When employees get to know their colleagues on a deeper level than just work, this can help them understand one another better and be more effective when it comes to team projects. Coffee break time also becomes an informal venue to discuss ideas which can lead to creative collaborations.
With companies like Airbnb offering free paid vacations, and Netflix giving their employees unlimited parental leave, it is quite surprising that free coffee still ranks as one of the most popular employee perks.
This is quite a practical and more affordable way to make employees feel appreciated and boost company morale. This is because free coffee means less money the employees need to spend buying their own cup.
Promoting productivity in the office is not always an easy task. There are now different tech solutions, apps and breakthrough methods that promise to help maximise employees’ efficiency. But before engaging one of the more expensive methods, try implementing the office coffee break. A cup of coffee might just be the answer.