Coffee — it's the fuel for millions of Americans and countless others across the globe. From those working on the top floor of a skyscraper to those working under our city streets to keep our world running without issue, an unbelievable number of employees across the spectrum of industry can be found drinking coffee at work — and we don't blame them. Coffee is our favorite drink to wake up to, our preferred mid-day pick-me-up and simply a lovely beverage to sip with a decadent dessert.
At Barnie's Coffee & Tea Co., coffee in the workplace is our business. In our caffeine-infused world, drinking coffee at work is nearly written into our job descriptions. For those managers and business owners who may wonder if there are benefits of providing coffee to employees, we believe there are. Are coffee drinkers more productive at work? How do office coffee statistics stack up to other readily-available beverages like water, soda and juice? We're here to examine coffee in the workplace and how it offers employee ROI.
Let's Take a Coffee Break
Take a look around any worksite, office space or break room, and you'll see dozens of people with a cup in their hand and a smile on their face. Some bring in travel mugs from home, some grab a cup to-go from their favorite cafe and others rely on the break room brew to get them through their day. Why is workplace coffee consumption so popular, and how long has our favorite java juice been hanging around the office?
A History of Coffee in the Workplace
Coffee as a subject is so dense and delicious that it would take more than a single cup for us to explain its rich history, tasty present and flavorful future. An old Ethiopian legend states that a man named Kaldi first discovered coffee while watching his goats become energized after eating the beans. Between the 15th and 16th centuries, coffee became a popular crop to cultivate in countries like Turkey, Egypt and Syria. Eventually, travelers brought coffee back to Europe in the 17th century, kicking off a craze.
London was a popular sport for coffee houses in the mid-17th century, and by the mid-1600s, the British brought it to what would become New York, though tea stayed the preferred drink of choice for many years. Fast-forward to the end of the 18th century, when coffee became one of the most exported crops in the world. Coffee didn't become a staple in American culture until the start of the 1900s. Various companies began offering employees fifteen-minute workday breaks, which evolved into "coffee breaks".
How important were coffee breaks to employees? They were considered such a vital element of the workday that the lack of coffee breaks in the automotive industry nearly led union workers to go on strike in the 1960s. Coffee had percolated workplace culture so immensely, that some have said gatherings in the break room for employees to discuss topics over coffee were an evolved version of town hall meetings from decades past. Coffee brewing methods then became more mechanized and swifter with the arrival of instant coffee vending machines.
From the employer's perspective, coffee breaks gave their crews a chance to have a moment to themselves, and more importantly, come back to work with renewed energy. The uptick in productivity was noticed by a corporate interest group that created an advertising campaign to encourage more employees to take their deserved coffee break. With workplace coffee culture growing by the year, it's no surprise that nearly all forms of business today, regardless of industry, profession or workplace setting, offer coffee for their hard-working employees.
Coffee in the Workplace Today
Pop your head up from your computer screen and count how many of your fellow employees have cups of coffee at their workstations. You may even be sipping on a cup as you read this. One of the most significant differences between the workplace coffee culture of yesterday and the present, is that we now have an exceptional number of coffee options. An office may have a simple coffee pot, instant coffee makers or vending machines. Employers can even have fresh coffee delivered to their offices.
Along with bringing in personal cups of coffee from home, picking up a to-go cup at a cafe and getting a coffee order delivered, there are plenty of ways to secure a morning cup. When you consider just how many varieties of the beverage itself exists — from espressos, flat-whites and macchiatos to frappuccinos, lattes, cold brew and more — it's hard to believe workplace coffee culture started with a group of employees drinking only one type of coffee.
Coffee culture in the workplace continues to grow, in part, because fewer people report drinking coffee at home. While home consumption has decreased, drinking coffee at work has shown an increase. Office supply coffee companies are reporting increases in deliveries within the United States, as well. Surveys state that free coffee at work is an important company perk taken into consideration by younger professionals seeking new employers. The data doesn't lie — if you want to win points with prospective new employees, give them free coffee at work.
The context in which coffee is consumed in the workplace has also changed. Initially, the coffee break was a communal gathering of employees who could discuss their opinions or vent their frustrations before returning to work. In some cases, even bonding over the poor quality of their office coffee offered a sense of community and unity amongst coworkers. Now, there's a much larger focus on the quality of coffee employees put in their cups and the reason behind their consumption.
For example, many employees care more about where the coffee is sourced, how it's roasted and how it's brewed. They're not simply looking for any cup of coffee — they want a brew that tastes great and shows their employer's appreciation. There are also different reasons for drinking coffee throughout the workday. Some may begin their day with a cup from home and use office coffee to make it through the day. Others may focus "coffee breaks" around client or peer meetings to create a more relaxed atmosphere.
Coffee: The Fuel for Tomorrow's Workforce
It's no surprise that the business leaders of tomorrow rely on their daily cup to propel them through each semester of college. On many university and college campuses, coffee reigns as the most popular caffeinated beverage to consume — in some cases, it's also the most popular beverage, beating out other preferred drinks like water and juice. With exams, internships, jobs, clubs, athletics and a host of other social and academic activities on their schedule, they rely on coffee to keep them moving forward to new horizons.
Some studies have shown that caffeine is consumed by 92 percent of students in some form, with coffee being the main source of caffeine in both male and female consumers. This follows the overall trend that coffee is the preferred way to consume caffeine by the general U.S. population. Brewed coffee is typically the most popular option, while specialty coffee takes the second-highest rank. Cold brew coffee continues to rise in popularity around the country as well, both in employee and student consumption.
We know all-too-well just how important a cup of fresh coffee is to the bright young minds attending college. Barnie's has the wonderful privilege of serving the students of Stetson University and Rollins College delicious cups of hot and cold-brewed coffee right in the heart of their campuses. These diverse, ambitious and driven women and men strive to excel in their academics, dominate in their athletics and discover new ways to make the world a better place — and providing them with fresh coffee is the least we can do.
Benefits of Drinking Coffee at Work
Any business owner or manager will be aware of their workplace culture, which means many will certainly see the high-rate of coffee consumption and wonder if it's aiding or delaying employee productivity. Are coffee drinkers more productive at work? One report states that nearly two-thirds of those polled drink coffee throughout the day for a productivity boost, while one-third claim they're too busy to grab a quick cup. Scientifically speaking, research does point to many positive benefits of drinking coffee at work which may enhance employee productivity, including:
1. Increasing Employee Focus and Creativity
Caffeine has a powerful impact on our cognition, enhancing our minds in a variety of ways that not only help us perform better in our work, but also help us grow mentally. One key area of enhancement is focus. We lose our ability to focus optimally throughout the day, but coffee can help us pick up the slack. Coffee can also increase our ability to learn and retain information, increase our energy levels, enhance our creativity and even strengthen our willpower.
2. Enhancing Group Performance
Do you want to bring your team together to develop dynamic solutions to your company's problems? Sit them down around a pot of coffee and watch the magic happen. Caffeine has shown to have a positive impact on group dynamics — It can foster more productive conversation and increase the involvement of all members. Plus, those in the group are more likely to leave the discussion feeling positive about their input and the participation of their peers. Coffee brings people together and brews a batch of success.
3. Increasing Employee Attention and Safety, Leading to Fewer Workplace Accidents
Groggy early morning commutes and sluggish mid-day meetings are caused by a feeling of tiredness. We know employees use coffee as a quick pick-me-up, but what exactly does coffee do to keep us alert? Caffeine actually blocks brain receptors from receiving the compound that makes us feel tired. Low doses of caffeine have been shown to improve the alertness of employees, especially those who are already tired. Higher caffeine consumption may even limit the likelihood of employee workplace accidents.
Benefits of Providing Coffee to Employees
A number of studies — as well as countless coffee consumer testimonies — cite that drinking coffee at work has a positive impact on employees. Nearly half of all workers in the country claim they are less productive without their daily cup. In fact, over half of employees believe they need at least two cups or more per day to perform at their best.
So, which professionals drink the most coffee? One study identifies scientists and lab technicians, marketing professionals and education administrators as the top three. Others include:
- Writers and editors
- Social workers
- Food preppers
- Nurses and personal caretakers
- Government officials
Of course, these job roles only highlight a fraction of the millions of women and men in every industry around the country who love drinking coffee at work. Why should your business provide free coffee at work to employees or open up an in-house café for a convenient coffee break? Here are a few reasons we believe business owners and managers should be aware of:
1. Your Employees Want It — Even If They Haven't Told You
With over half of the workforce enjoying multiple cups of coffee while on the job daily, it's safe to say the majority of your employees will jump at the opportunity to drink coffee at work. With rising prices at large corporate cafés and coffee distributors, you'll give your employees coffee in a convenient way and help them save money every day.
2. Free Coffee at Work Is a Surprisingly Huge Benefit for Prospective Hires
Some major corporations offer out-of-this-world perks as part of their benefits packages. While free massages, chef-catered lunches and tickets to events are great gifts, most employees entering a company are more interested in smaller benefits. Aside from better healthcare plans and flexibility in work, perks like free snacks and free coffee at work are surprisingly serious considerations for new hires. It may be a small, affordable gesture, but it speaks volumes to professionals searching for their right career fit.
3. In-House Coffee Can Enhance Company Culture
When you have coffee available to your employees, they don't have to leave the premises to get a good cup, saving precious time. Coffee culture aside, more break time spent in the office allows your employees to have organic social interactions they would miss otherwise. Provide them with coffee, and they'll organically come together.
4. Free Coffee Is an Affordable Investment for Even the Smallest of Businesses
Consider the annual investments you make in the health, wellbeing, happiness and success of your employees. So many of these elements are deemed essential — removing one of them would negatively impact employee morale and potentially harm the company's internal or external image. Providing coffee in the workplace is a valuable investment that doesn't require a significant room in the budget. With so many options available from local coffee companies, there's a delivery system available to suit your employee's needs without draining your budget.
Why You Should Give Your Employees Local Coffee
What makes you choose the coffee you drink? Are you loyal to a brand, to a cafe, to a flavor profile or to a growth region? Do you prioritize sustainably grown beans, or do you prefer a certain taste that only a freshly roasted and brewed local cup of coffee can offer? Believe it or not, some of your employees may be quite particular when it comes to choosing the perfect cup. Thankfully, you can please everybody in your office by offering local coffee.
Local cafés aren't faceless corporate entities expanding into empty storefronts to boost stock levels. Local coffee shops are owned, operated and run by those who live in the community. These individuals sincerely care about their craft and aim to provide wonderfully diverse and delicious brews to all of their family members, friends and neighbors. When you choose a local coffee service to satisfy your employee's coffee cravings, you're enlisting the help of a team of professionals that have a thorough understanding of the community's unique coffee culture.
Large corporate franchises may lack the ability to give dedicated, customized support to ensure your employees receive the type of coffee they want. Choosing to integrate a local coffee company into your office over a franchise chain can be the difference between giving your hard-working team a satisfactory, predictable cup and rewarding them with a high-quality, custom blend that hits the sweet spot every time. You expect the best from your employees, so give them exceptional fresh local coffee to help them perform at their best.
Barnie's Coffee Office Coffee Program
Although some people may believe that coffee is always appreciated — when it's good, it's great and when it's bad, it's still good — offices and workspaces in any industry shouldn't mistakenly believe that simply putting on a hot pot of coffee every morning for employees will fully satisfy their needs. With so many employees caring about where their coffee comes from and how it tastes, employers should be deliberate in their coffee choice. Trust a local coffee company that can give your coffee culture a pick-me-up — Barnie's Office Coffee.
Our office coffee program is designed with the unique needs of your employees in mind. We serve up fresh, uniquely flavored coffee that coffee drinkers have sworn by for 40 years, and our office coffee program offers your employees access to a number of different coffee and tea varieties. Choose from favorites, like our classic and flavored teas and coffees, our Crop-Ex small-batch roasts and Nitro cold brew coffees. We'll deliver them in pre-measured packets or single-serve cups.
Do you want to give your employees more than just a pump pot in the break room? We will provide you with your own custom, private-label blends to make each cup truly unique to your company. From simple coffee batch deliveries to opening a full-service cafe in your offices and anything in between, Barnie's coffee office program will revolutionize your coffee culture. Drinking coffee at work can be more than a habit — it can be an experience that brings your team together.
Give Your Employees Free Coffee at Work From Barnie's Coffee & Tea Co.
Free coffee at work — it may sound like a small token of appreciation, but it's a vital necessity in the minds of many professionals within today's workforce. The benefits of providing coffee to employees create a quick return on investment that can benefit any industry. However, drinking coffee at work may not be as effective if you choose a bland blend. Give your hard-working employees the delectable coffee they crave — give them Barnie's Coffee & Tea Co.
We're ready to be your preferred coffee partner and ensure your employees are completely satisfied with every drop of our uniquely flavored coffee. From our rich bagged coffee and convenient single-serve cups to our Crop Ex Coffee and seasonal blends, we have a batch for every coffee lover. Bring Barnie's into your office, and let us help your team get the job done.
Contact us today to learn more about our office coffee program and how Barnie's Coffee & Tea Co. can enhance your workplace coffee culture.