Up until recently, my wife was a nurse at a large St. Louis hospital. Just like many large corporations these days, the hospital decided that it needed to do some cost-cutting. Suddenly gone were the free meals in the cafeteria during shifts, the birthday gift cards and a few other things. The nurses took these moves in stride, everyone seemed to understand where the company was coming from. Then one day the hospital went too far. Someone decided that money could be saved if they did away with the free coffee on every floor and replaced it with coffee vending machines. Now the nurses were mad, and morale took a nosedive. Coffee is that important to many employees.
While this story represents an extreme example, it is not unusual for companies to operate on tight budgets. At Office Essentials we see it every day. In fact, we designed a whole program that we take into companies to show them how to do more with less. (It’s called Smartchoice and you can read more about it here.) In this case, rather than choosing to go without, we would have advised the hospital to rethink their coffee program to find a way to make it work for everyone – are they buying too much coffee? Is there a better option for cups? Is there too much waste happening? There are many ways to get more bang for your office coffee expenditure without getting rid of it altogether. After all, studies show that almost half of your employees would rather have free coffee than a company Christmas party.
So why is office coffee a perk your company should splurge? For starters, consider that thirty-eight percent of your workers don’t think they could live without it. And it’s popular: sixty-five percent of workers drink coffee on the job, and those workers average three cups a day each.
Here are 3 more reasons, from science and Business Insider.
Coffee improves performance. Science doesn’t lie. Caffeine keeps people awake, alert, and focused. It also improves memory and concentration, which helps reduce the number of mistakes they make. For those who work long or late hours, caffeine has also been proven to help prevent work-related injuries.
Coffee breaks create a positive office culture. The coffee pot is the new water cooler. (When was the last time you even saw a water cooler?) Giving your employees coffee won’t just improve their abilities; it’ll better their environment. Taking coffee breaks with colleagues is an easy way to get to know them better. A coffee maker can also facilitate teamwork. Forty percent of surveyed employees said they’ve had productive work conversations over coffee.
Perks improve office morale. Giving your employees free stuff helps them feel valued and appreciated. Like I mentioned above, thirty-eight percent of people would prefer having free coffee every day to the company Christmas party. In tough economic times, when other perks are cut, keeping a decent pot of coffee in the break room is a way of telling your employees that things aren’t hopeless.