Productivity is a major concern for managers across the world right now, and this concern has undoubtedly been heightened by the general loss of the old-fashioned 9-to-5, cubicle-based working environment. Many employees no longer have (and no longer want) the same sort of rigid structure that we used to have, and today employees fully expect a little bit of flexibility in their working patterns. While this can help to keep them satisfied, it’s causing some managers to break out in a cold sweat!
Flexibility naturally poses a risk to productivity, and it’s safe to say that productivity is more of a concern today than it ever has been. More and more managers are looking into how to motivate staff, minimise ‘sloppiness’, and crack down on the number of non-productive tasks undertaken during working hours. Some might restrict the use of the web for personal reasons; others may ban personal devices. Some might even decide to cut out coffee breaks, but is this really what’s best for you and your employees?
While these methods may appear to be effective on the surface, we need to be looking at both sides of the coin here. We need to be thinking about whether forcing the idea of productivity is really the best way to succeed, or whether backing off a little could have a more pronounced effect. It’s a similar case with teenagers, with some saying that the stricter the environment, the more likely they are to rebel. By pushing our employees, could we actually be doing more harm than good, and hindering productivity?
The Importance of the Coffee Break
Experts claim that regular coffee breaks boost productivity, and are actually essential for peak performance in the workplace. While it may sound strange — doing less work to achieve more — the reasoning is pretty solid. It is claimed that by resting the brain, we’re able to take a step back and see things more clearly. The concept of ‘shower thoughts’ is a prime example of this. Think about it. Have you ever had a genius idea in the shower? Or thought up a solution to your problems while out for a run? Sometimes, we need to take a step back in order to view the situation with more clarity.
However, a coffee break alone isn’t enough. Boosting productivity isn’t just about the existence of coffee breaks. It’s about how these breaks are organised; when they’re taken, how often they’re taken, and who they’re taken with. The key to boosting productivity is the organised coffee break.
The Organised Coffee Break: How, When, and With Whom
Quite simply, a random approach to coffee breaks just isn’t going to cut it. In fact, it could actually do more harm than good and encourage sloppy working patterns. Instead, it’s best to look into ways to organise workplace coffee breaks to ensure that all employees are getting the most from their rests.
Here are some aspects to take into consideration:
Coffee with Friends
Research shows that enjoying a coffee with friends, rather than alone, can help to reinforce workplace friendships and improve the strength of the office social groups. Employees who are a part of a strong workplace community typically show higher levels of productivity than those who spend time alone.
The Rule of ‘52 and 17’
According to studies, the most productive employees work for an average of 52 minutes at a time, with an average 17-minute break in between periods of working. Experts claim that 17 minutes is long enough to completely remove yourself from your workload, returning with a clear head and more energy.
AM v. PM
Scientists claim that morning coffee breaks are more effective as research shows that the longer it is from the beginning of the workday, the less beneficial coffee breaks become. It is easier to restore energy when levels are still high, and harder to replenish as they naturally deplete during the day.
Of course, the term ‘coffee break’ is just a name, and today it doesn’t necessarily refer to the beverage itself; it more refers to a rest period during working hours. However, the name does make us think about coffee itself in terms of productivity. It is reported that happy employees are 12% more productive than their unhappy counterparts, and there is perhaps no other beverage that makes us feel quite so thrilled as a big cup of Joe.
There’s actually a biological reason for this. Coffee is understood to stimulate the production and release of a chemical called dopamine, which makes us experience feelings of euphoria. Caffeinated teas, which help to keep us alert, are also good options for boosting productivity at work.
Your Next Step
If you’re concerned about productivity in the office, then there are a number of ways that you can work to create a more productive environment. From staff training to data analysis using timesheet tracking, there’s plenty of ways that you may already be familiar with, but something that is often overlooked is ‘how’ employees work, rather than ‘how often’ they work.
According to researchers, boosting productivity in the workplace isn’t about working longer or working harder; it’s about working smarter and making smarter choices. Regular coffee breaks are one of the smartest choices you can make.
For a limited time, 7 Grams Coffee has partnered with Future Fitouts and are offering all Future Fitouts clients (past and present) a whopping 25% discount off our coffee machine ranges. So take a coffee break and get in touch with us on 1300 368 461 for more details and to secure your new coffee machine in your office today.
Greg is a Marketing Manager at 7 Grams Coffee, an office coffee and machine supplier for 300+ offices around Australia. He enjoys hiking, reading and spreading the word about high-quality coffee.