Does Coffee Make Employees More Productive?

Coffee is a common part of most adults’ everyday life. When we wake up, we grab a cup. Once at the office we might grab another as a mid-morning pick me up and in the afternoon, maybe someone will grab one last coffee break to help get them through the rest of the day.

Having to leave the office to get a cup of joe isn’t convenient and can waste company time, which is why free coffee at work is one of those small, but great perks an office can have. It may cost money; however, the productivity coffee can provide for workers may be worth the costs.

Coffee in the workplace

Time taken away from the desk isn’t wasted work time. In fact, studies show that taking regular breaks throughout the workday actual improves mental acuity and productivity. On top of this, it provides a great opportunity for people to engage in conversations with coworkers.

Today, many people spend more time at work than any other place. That means that allowing co-workers to build relationships in the workplace isn’t just important for projects or teams, but it’s important for your employees’ sanity.

Going to work and feeling as if you’re in a room of strangers, and feeling that way for a majority of your week, isn’t appealing. If a person looks forward to going to work to see people they know, they’re likely going to show up earlier or perform better.

The American Psychological Association concluded that being friends with your co-workers "can increase job satisfaction, productivity and job commitment while decreasing stress and turnover".

Taking a coffee break together allows employees to bond as friends, as well as to network within their team and share resources or brainstorm. By supplying the coffee for employees to do this, you’re providing a way for employees to engage.

Taking coffee breaks together also allows employees to socialize with each other during a quick break rather than throughout the day, and also allows for employees from separate departments to talk shop.

Maybe the head of marketing didn’t realize the strain that was happening in the accounting department. By catching up while pouring some coffee, the marketing director is able to realize that she should do her very best to cut down on costs, which will improve the business as a whole.

The benefits of drinking coffee

Caffeine, which is the main purpose of drinking coffee, is a stimulant.

That means that it blocks adenosine receptors in the brain, letting neurotransmitters that are associated with alertness work their magic and prevent drowsiness. It also increases neuron firing, which stimulates adrenaline production.

In turn, adrenaline production causes physical changes that result in alertness, specifically in those who are tired, improvement in short term memory, improvement in long term memory, specifically in recalling details, and a boost in mood.

Productivity is increased with these improvements because of the ability to process information faster, which helps make you more effective. The easier it is to remember things and the more alert you are, the easier it is to concentrate on an important project or client.

These benefits aren’t even including the increase in energy from the caffeine in coffee. According to the American Medical Association, “moderate tea or coffee drinking likely has no negative effect on health, as long as you live an otherwise healthy lifestyle."

It may not be a glowing review for the caffeinated drink; however, it does inform us that most of the concerns about caffeine's negative effects have been dispelled.

In fact, according to the Nurses' Health Study, concentrated amounts of caffeine can increase positivity in the moment. With that, an increase in consumption lowers depression in women.

A positive mindset is linked to better productivity and as long as it’s consumed steadily, it’s possible to avoid the caffeine or sugar crash that employees could experience with other caffeinated beverages.

Provide Coffee for less

One of the big downfalls for providing free coffee to employees is the price. Yes, you can place a box for contributions next to the coffee machine or even have employees take turns bringing in coffee themselves, but in reality, not everyone who donates and it likely will be the same people who do, which isn’t fair.

The type of coffee maker businesses use has changed as well, which also brings a higher cost to employers.

Many places have switched from using a large industrial brewer or even a smaller coffee pot to using Keurigs or K-cup brewers for a few reasons. The coffee was sitting in the pot on a warmer, which made it get stale and bitter, or the employee making the employee made it to their personal preference which could be too light or too dark for others.

Either way, employees didn’t like the taste of the coffee. Add the fact that much of the coffee was probably low quality and the water used was unfiltered tap water, and if the taste of the coffee wasn’t spoiled before, it was now.

Much of the taste of coffee is dependant on the water rather than the coffee bean, so if your office doesn’t have bottled water or a water filtration system, it’s a good investment to keep employees happy.

But what about the price? By making a few changes, you’ll find that what seems as if it’d be an extra cost will actually be equal or reduce the cost of coffee at work.

Switch to filtered water and invest in a high-end commercial drip coffeemaker - specifically one that stores coffee in an airtight thermal carafe. A portable carafe that allows coffee to be served in a conference room is a good investment too. All of these will reduce price because the coffee’s taste will improve, meaning the need to buy k-cups or high-end coffee beans will be unnecessary.

The new pot and water will produce good coffee and because it will be in a thermal carafe, it will stay warm but won’t burn, meaning the coffee won’t be thrown out after an hour just for a new batch to be made and not completely drank.

The most important thing to remember about offering coffee at work is that it boosts an employee sense of well-being because it is so highly valued. Yes, it costs money, but by making an employee feel valued because of a free cup of coffee, he or she will feel the need to be more productive for the better of the company. That alone is worth the cost.

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