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Workplace Coffee Fuels Production

November 15, 2010

There are some sections of the country where every office building has its own coffee shop or at least a kiosk or espresso cart. Rare is the office that doesn’t have a pot brewing during the day. Many offices even have a coffee vending machine so the employees can select a wide variety of specialty coffee drinks at any time and never run out of the brew. Some employees are so coffee-driven they even have their own brewers on their desks, in addition to a staff room coffee service.

Are employers just being nice to provide and/or allow such amenities or is there a financial benefit to the company from their provision? In a recent posting on Career Builder’s “The Hiring Site”, Amy Chulik reported on a survey carried out by Dunkin' Donuts and Career Builder. In the survey, 3,661 full-time U.S. workers were asked about their workday coffee habits. It was found that nearly one-third (32%) responded that they need coffee to get through the workday; 43% think their productivity is less if they don’t drink coffee at work; for workers aged 18 to 24, 40% said they can’t concentrate as well without their coffee; and more than a third (37%) drink at least two cups or more while at work. For those who buy coffee out during the work day, 75% report that they need travel - at most – a quarter of a mile. Coffee is a reward for younger workers, aged 18 to 34, as 24% of them treat themselves to a purchased coffee drink for a job well-done.

With almost half – 43% - admitting that they find themselves less productive if they don’t indulge in coffee while on the job, it appears that the provision of coffee to employees is a necessity. It would be worthwhile to do a more in-depth study of workers. An employer should determine whether productivity increased if a more attractive coffee service is provided. For example, it’s a good bet that morale, and thus productivity, would improve if the selection of coffees included more than just the stale drip variety that has been sitting on the warmer for several hours. Since coffee shops exist so close to most office buildings, it might be beneficial to submit everyone’s order to the shop and have them delivered. One big US company provided a barista in-house for its night shift workers and allowed one free drink, with amenities, a night. The work was tedious, but that coffee break did indeed boost morale, and undoubtedly helped the productivity.

Who’d have thought – workplace coffee drinking a necessary business expense? I’ll drink to that.

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