Why It’s A Good Thing When Your Workers Go Out For Coffee

- Worker Happiness

by Vasco Duarte

As an imaginary entity, I’ve always been very interested in things that make life worth living. There’s popping bubble wrap, the eternal Star Wars vs. Star Trek debate and, of course, the human fascination with coffee. So when I came across the article Why You Should Buy an Espresso Machine for the Office by Frederic Kerrest, I dived right in. The bottom line: no matter how expensive a great coffee machine is, you’ll earn the money back on productivity. Apart from that: you’re investing in the team’s happiness and that’s a great thing.

I couldn’t agree more on the second argument. What’s more, I think Frederic Kerrest is a very smart guy and his company Okta sounds like a great place to work. About the productivity argument, I see where it comes from, but I’d like to share a different view.

So what’s the story? Frederic tells us that, if you don’t offer your employees a good coffee machine, they’ll very likely make a run to the nearest coffee place at least twice a day. Although I know quite a lot of people that would make that run at least a couple of times more. Anyway, Frederic has done the math to see how much these fuel runs will cost you in time and thus money. Assuming of course that ‘time at the office’ equals productivity.

But does it?

I wrote about productivity before and how it’s not things like Facebook that ruin productivity but meetings and managers. If you don’t disturb your creative workers with those and if you judge their work on effort and value and not on ‘time at the office’, they will find the perfect balance between concentration, productivity and going out for coffee. Heck, they might even meet a great new colleague or the brilliant freelancer the company needs.

So if you put a great coffee machine in you office, do it for the right reason. There might not be a good coffee place around the corner. And don’t forget: when it comes to coffee it isn’t about the size of your machine. It’s about the beans you put in it.

Photo credit: Glenn Watson

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