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Surely a Decent Cup of Coffee would help

By Joe Cox

An interesting article in today’s Guardian about workplace happiness that made me think. It’s often claimed that we don’t have it so good when it comes to our working lives but stats from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development show that we worked on average 30% longer hours and took half as much time off in the 1950’s as we do now. The move away from an austere and diligent post-war work ethic to our modern model of working practices and expectations has been driven by a whole range of social, political and legal forces. 

But it seems there is another force working in the opposite direction, pushing us to become, not less, but more stressed with our working lives. There is the suggestion that it is in fact technology that is, counter to Winston Churchill’s predictions in those hard but hopeful post war years, chaining us to our desks not setting us free.  What’s more, the frenetic and transient nature of the job market has eroded any sense of job security we may have once had. Stress is now the biggest cause of work time absence.

Is there a way we can start to reverse this tide, I pondered, as I read on. A cure to our national work stress levels. Well there’s certainly no magic bullet that’s for sure. But it’s often the little things that end up making a lot of difference in the end. And these little things add up. Help to make your day gradually more bearable, mollify those collective office stress levels. And then it struck me! Good coffee. Maybe even excellent coffee. Exemplary coffee… well you get the point. 

Studies, highlighted on these pages have pointed towards evidence of coffee and tea curing boredom in the workplace but surely they have their place in ameliorating some of the stress in a hectic working day as well. I think in this day and age of hyper stressed out workers and technological dependency, there seems to be a whole raft of reasons for introducing café culture beverages into the workplace. I happen to think that a cracking cup of tea or a sensational cup of coffee can help put your worries on hold. Bringing back the concept of the coffee or tea break seems to me, not only good for the soul but beneficial in that it helps focus the mind by allowing it some all important downtime (something we’re all told to do, but nonetheless ignore when we’re in the thick of it).

But surely, given the stats concerning rising stress levels and subsequent absenteeism over the past 30 years, the strongest argument for introducing café culture and coffee shop quality drinks into the workplace, is that it simply makes good business sense in the long term. Regardless of the evidence that now exists we all know instinctively that a pleasant workplace makes for a better working culture, and a better working culture makes for less stress. These things are just common sense.

I’m not trying to reduce the debate down to just good coffee, as there are clearly a range of complex social and cultural forces pushing up stress levels and absenteeism. But a Flavia in the breakout area would surely be a good start, and an investment in your workforce’s wellbeing that could eventually pay dividends. 

Surely a decent cup of coffee would help. Don’t you think?

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