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Is free coffee in the workplace worth it?

Free coffee in the workplace – what’s it all about?

Has the UK become a nation of coffee enthusiasts?

We might be known as tea drinkers, but it’s fair to say a large proportion of the UK enjoys a daily coffee too. In the past 10 years, our coffee consumption has increased to 85 million* cups per day. That’s an increase of 25 million since 2008*.

Café culture has also boomed. And of those of us who visit coffee shops, 80% of people do so at least once a week, with 16% visiting daily*.

*Statistics by the British Coffee Association

It would seem all this coffee drinking has changed our taste buds…

Ground and pod coffee is increasingly popular, particularly amongst millennials. This shift has inevitably moved into many workplaces, where the communal jar of instant is being shunned for something a bit punchier. And why not? Coffee and productivity go hand-in-hand.

A recent article in the Financial Times looked into this trend. They cited a figure from the Allegra World Coffee Portal, stating that around 52% of consumers want to drink the same beverages at work as those they can find in coffee shops.

What does this mean for businesses?

It might not be realistic for most businesses to provide barista-style coffee for their employees every day. But, this doesn’t mean that it can’t be treated as a benefit or happen on occasion.

Enjoying a coffee is a simple but meaningful moment within a busy day. It’s also something that can be shared with others and teamed with much-needed break times. This is what makes coffee in the workplace such an ideal company ‘perk’ or reward.

Treating employees to free refreshments can help them feel happier

As reported by Indeed, a survey of full-time workers carried out by Peapod found that 56% of people were happy at work. But, that figure jumps to 67% for those who enjoy free food and drink at work.

While the occasional flat white isn’t going to change how someone’s feeling about their job, it is a nice gesture. Small incentives such as the odd free hot drink can help people feel valued. And for large company events, a coffee bar is the perfect way to break the ice and get people talking.

If your company is launching a new internal initiative, a coffee bar can be a nice way of inviting people to get involved. We’ve provided coffee bars for internal re-brand events, recruitment drives and intranet launches. Serving coffee often increases engagement at these events, with people staying longer and taking part in the discussion while enjoying their refreshments.  

Great coffee goes down a treat

It’s unlikely that all UK businesses will be able to go the same way of companies like Google, with a professional coffee bar on every floor. But it is nice to see workplaces embracing the idea of catering for their employees and providing them with quality products, rather than the bare essentials.

It doesn’t have to be purely caffeinated drinks either. When we take coffee bars to workplaces, for events or internal meetings, we take plenty of herbal teas and hot chocolate too. We’ve even provided the occasional smoothie and juice bar for that added boost of morning energy!

Is it worthwhile?

In terms of the benefits of coffee in the workplace, it’s a small, but inclusive office perk to provide. It’s a nice way of bringing people together and encouraging them to take a break when they need one. If you can give someone a moment of joy in a hectic day, that’s always a good thing!

We’re on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram, where you can follow us for plenty of coffee-related updates and pictures.

23 October 2019 - The Barista


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