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Coffee and Employee Productivity

November 11, 2009

Coffee cupFor those of you who have actively followed our blogs and our tweets, the common theme has been based on employee motivation, engagement, and the useage of noncash rewards in the workplace to drive productivity. After all, it is our business.  One morning an event happened that made me realize another noncash incentive in the workplace that most people take for granted:

Coffee.

The old saying “You don’t know what you’ve got ’till it’s gone” never rang more true than on this particular mid-morning. In the office break room this morning I traveled into the breakroom for my traditional second cup of liquid productivity. Seeing the coffee empty, I decided to brew up another batch. After hitting the start button, the coffee machine made some noise but after a long wait still showed no signs of action. Throwing in the towel, myself and another long time Hinda veteran walked away from the machine with empty mugs and the hollow feeling of defeat.

Pondering this predicament made me think about coffee in the workplace. Many workers can’t function without a hot cup of joe in their hands. Our office, like many other offices out there, provides free coffee to employees. It’s not a major incentive, something minor, but a nice noncash motivator.

Little things like that help boost morale and employee engagement within the workplace. How much a company seems to care for their employees has a lot to do with the level of employee engagement within the company (obviously). This ranges anywhere between points-based recognition programs for hard work, or just little things like having cheap vending machines or free coffee (all of which Hinda provides). Starting off with small, inexpensive steps like these can make a huge difference.

As far as our coffee machine, it recovered from its temper tantrum, coffee was consumed and balance was restored.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. emilycf permalink
    February 21, 2010 4:57 am

    This is a very interesting point. Coffee is provided in virtually all offices, but few stop to think about what their morning routine would be like without it. Coffee definitely is something that employees take for granted, so it is interesting to think of it as a motivator. By creating a more positive work environment for employees, employers are increasing employee satisfaction and possibly productivity. With all of the studies concerning employee satisfaction and productivity it still appears to be conflicted as to whether one causes the other. I think that this post does illustrate that although there may not be proof connecting satisfaction and productivity, positive work environments are beneficial to organizations in other ways. As mentioned in this post, coffee acts as a positive motivator for some people, but it makes me wonder whether appreciation and praise of employees would be a more effective motivator? Non-material rewards are a better motivator, even though they are more difficult to provide, so it is understandable as to why coffee is the chosen motivator.

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