Study after study shows that moderate coffee consumption is a worker's best friend. It can increase performance on a variety of tasks, sharpen short-term memory, and improve focus, among other benefits.
Embracing the benefits of coffee — and the little rituals and traditions associated with drinking it — can help keep your team productive, motivated and working well together. Try these ideas:
Provide Free Quality Coffee (and the Fixings) to Your Employees
A cost-conscious small-business owner may instinctively balk at providing coffee, or opt to provide a lower-cost — and often, lower-quality — type. But as a means to increase productivity, it's a relatively small price to pay. Free, quality coffee is likely to be more appealing, so employees are less likely to spend time traveling offsite for their daily coffee runs. To do things right, be sure to keep cream and sugar in ample supply so everybody can make their preferred cup.
While you're at it, providing healthy snack choices to go with your great coffee isn't a bad idea, either. Nuts and fruit are a welcome accompaniment to a coffee break, and they can add extra fuel to your team's productivity.
View Coffee Breaks as Collaborative Opportunities
Some businesses may view employee coffee breaks with skepticism, seeing them as a cause for drops in productivity. But on the contrary, coffee breaks provide an opportunity for co-workers to exchange ideas and develop stronger bonds with one another. One study determined that workers aged 18-34 regard coffee breaks as a way to boost energy and enhance a sense of collaboration in the workplace.
Invite employees to gather for coffee and conversation from time to time. If they're in a slump and out of ideas, try a brainstorming coffee break. If they're frustrated and stressed with a project, use it as an opportunity to relax for a moment and chat about non-work topics. That way, they'll feel mentally refreshed when they return to their tasks.
Create a 'Coffee-Shop' Work Area
Some forward-thinking businesses — recognizing the positive effects of coffee and coffee breaks — are creating areas that have "the comfort and relaxing vibe of a coffee shop," while maintaining a work space that encourages productive interactions, according to the Huffington Post. They understand that the beverage itself is only part of the equation: The atmosphere of a coffee house, with an inviting interior, the smell of coffee and plenty of comfortable furniture, can help put employees in the right mindset to do their best work.
Small businesses can set up a coffee shop corner with a few comfortable chairs, softer lighting and art on the walls. If that would be too difficult for your location, you might simply allow employees to go sit at the local cafe with their laptops for an hour or two. When used appropriately, the change of scene and the benefits of coffee can provide a real boost.
Creating a coffee-friendly culture can make your workplace a happier, more productive and collaborative place. Think about what aspects work best for your business, and let the caffeine flow freely.