Compiled by Kyra Auffermann, NCA
A New Study Looks at Coffee and Productivity in the Workplace
Even before I was employed by the coffee industry, my productivity has been fueled primarily by coffee – followed by WiFi, a solid soundtrack, and then another cup of coffee.
Fortunately, “procaffeination” is supported by science: Studies suggest that consuming caffeine can help promote creativity, concentration, and even prevent workplace accidents. Plus, coffee breaks are linked to better morale and collaboration at work.
Yet nearly one-third (29%) of European workers said that they didn’t drink coffee at work because they didn’t have time or were too busy, according to a new study commissioned by the Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee (ISIC).
The research found that workplace coffee drinking habits are shaped by time, taste, and the desire for a productivity boost. More than two-thirds (68%) of respondents said they always or often drink coffee during the working day.
There was also clear pattern of coffee consumption: peaking in the morning, with a slight rise at lunchtime (1-3pm), and then becoming increasingly lower during the rest of the afternoon. A significant proportion (56%) of people who drank coffee on their commute to work said that it helped wake them up, and over a third (36%) said it helped them feel more alert.
The top reasons for drinking coffee during work were:
- Liking the taste (56%)
- Taking time to pause and rest while drinking or preparing coffee (40%)
- Feeling more alert or less tired (both 29%)
Coffee was the drink most closely associated with productivity, with 43% saying it improved their productivity over other caffeinated and non-caffeinated options. Overall, 63% of respondents selected short breaks as being most likely to improve their work productivity.
Yet in total, 11% of respondents said they never took a short break at work to eat or drink something during the work day.
Given that people drink coffee for pleasure, relaxation, or to feel more alert, these findings suggest that some people are unable to escape the stress of their daily workload. Not only does this risk individual health and increase the likelihood or burnout, but it could lower company productivity overall.
“ISIC’s survey results have some interesting implications for workplace wellbeing,” said Dr. James Chandler, policy analyst at the Work Foundation, who commented on the study. “For example, the fact that that nearly a third of those surveyed cannot find time for a short break could indicate that they have little job control, placing them under stress.”
Dr. Chandler continued: “Across Europe, health problems within the working population is a growing problem, due, in part, to an aging demographic. The body of scientific research surrounding caffeine consumption and health outcomes such as reduced risk of type 2 diabetes is worth exploring as employers look for ways of keeping people in work, healthy, for longer.”