Installing a great coffee machine in the office isn’t just a good way to show your employees how much you appreciate them. There are numerous benefits that may mean that they are healthier and happier in the long run, and therefore more likely to remain loyal to your company. Benefits including mental and physical health, and the ability to socialise, are all important for office teams.
Little breaks, often
The first real, tried-and-true benefit to your employees that comes from taking coffee breaks, is the interruption to sitting. Sitting for long periods of time isn’t great for our bodies, as has been found by multiple studies. However, that doesn’t mean you need to get everybody onto standing desks, which can be very expensive and also are not necessarily inclusive.
Moving around the office is good for blood flow, and it’s recommended that computer workers spend at least five minutes in every 60 not looking at their screens. The rest is great for eyes and eyesight, and may reduce the possibility of screen-induced headaches.
A short trip to the kitchen to replenish a coffee cup is an ideal opportunity to move muscles and give eyes a break from that blue light. Shorter breaks more often are more beneficial than one or two longer breaks throughout the day.
Coffee is great for giving us that jolt of caffeine when we’re feeling sluggish, but the actual act of getting up from our desks and fetching the coffee is good in and of itself. Taking breaks from our work allows our brains to recalibrate, to rest enough that we may in fact come back to our desks reinvigorated, boosting both productivity and creativity. This is true of both longer and shorter breaks. That’s one of the reasons why we often go to bed feeling anxious about a problem, only to wake up with the solution. During rest, our brains work away uninterrupted.
Stepping away from their desks may mean that your team has the chance to think about something else for a moment, letting their brains continue working in the background. And that means that they’ll feel good about themselves when they sit back down, steaming cup of coffee in hand, and realise they know just what needs to happen next.
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So much has been written about watercooler chat, and it remains one of the top benefits of the office environment. It is this situation that allows the free flow of ideas and connection between people in different departments, people who may or may not work together under normal circumstances. Even if the conversation is mundane, or small talk about the weather or Coronation Street, it’s fostering a connection between your team. And that leads to a happier work life, meaning employees are more likely to both work better and stay working for the company for longer.
This type of conversation doesn’t have to take place at the watercooler itself, but can be enabled by a coffee machine, or a regular spread of doughnuts on a Thursday morning, or even by the pool and ping-pong tables some international conglomerates choose to install in their offices. We don’t think this kind of play room is vital though – a decent coffee maker and free access to delicious coffee is probably all you need.
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Apart from the social aspect of stopping work for a quick coffee, and apart from the physical side of health, drinking coffee, specifically, can help lower stress. There are benefits to coffee drinking that may improve the mood of your employees, and will certainly make them feel happier while they are in the office.
A cup of coffee boosts mood. This is something that seems obvious, but can’t be understated. We are physical creatures, at the end of the day, and building little moments of pleasure into our working lives is one way in which we can stay positive and focused for the long-term.
Caffeine can also boost memory, which is vital for making quick connections and working effectively. This can, in turn, improve how your employees feel at work: if they feel like they are having successes, making a difference and putting in good work, they are encouraged and their self-esteem will be raised. As Maslow found, the greatest way to improve productivity and employee happiness is to make sure that their needs are met: for most workers, this includes feeling fulfilled and sure of themselves in their workplace.
The benefits to coffee breaks in the office are many and varied. There are benefits to the employee and the employer both. These come from the act of getting up from a desk as well as the coffee that is drunk. Mental, physical, and social boons, all coming from the simple installation of a great coffee machine. With all this available for such a small input, it seems mad not to give your team the best coffee machine you can afford!