Published October 25, 2019

How is the coffee in your workplace? Delicious, we hope? There is plenty of research showing that a daily coffee intake will also increase your work performance…

So, how is coffee linked to leadership, you may wonder? In a number of ways, it appears. We should perhaps not go as far as to say that your coffee breaks at work are crucial for your leadership, but it seems that they do indeed play a vital role.

Imagine what would happen if there was no longer any coffee in your workplace. What effects do you think this would have? What did happen in a British computer corporation when, as an experiment, they removed the coffee for a week, was that employee performance in different areas decreased by between 10 and 25 per cent! As the results were based on the participants’ own perceived performance levels, we might need to take these results with a pinch of salt, but it still says something about the role of coffee in the workplace.

Perhaps we had better turn to the substantial research there is on the subject. Below are some scientifically proven facts (for example from this study) about how a few cups of good coffee affect your employees, and of course also you, which you, as the good manager and leader that you are need to know about:

Coffee gives you energy, makes you alert and keeps you on your toes. This might not be news to you, but do you know the reasons behind this effect? The caffeine in the coffee blocks the adenosine receptors in the central nervous system. Adenosine is a neurotransmitter supressing arousal and the feeling of being awake and alert. A cup of coffee when you are starting to feel tired will therefore make you feel perkier and more awake, which is not a bad thing if you are required to perform at work.

Coffee improves your memory. Researchers at The John Hopkins University in the US made non-coffee drinkers look at a large number or images and asked them to remember these. Immediately afterwards, half of the subjects were given 200 mg of caffeine in the form of a pill. The next day all the subjects were asked to come back and were shown the same images, but this time some of these had been swapped for similar motifs. The subjects who had been given the caffeine the previous day were far better at remembering which of the images had been swapped. There is also research pointing to our cognitive abilities being enhanced by coffee.

Coffee helps you make good decisions. If you have a good memory, this will also help you make good and correct decisions. If you are able to retain information you have gathered previously, you will be able to access this information and use it when you need to make important decisions. Your concentration levels improve and you will find it easier to focus on the right things.

Coffee increases your social skills. A coffee break together with other people at work allows you to get to know each other better and bond. Sometimes you might also establish new contacts during the coffee break. There is even research showing that having coffee before group or teamwork makes you more active, sociable and improves your performance.

Having a cup coffee allows you time for problem solving and decreases your stress. Another result of your coffee break together with others is that you give yourself an opportunity to discuss any problems you may have at work. Even just sharing your challenges can reduce your stress levels. In addition, there is always a chance that someone else might offer a solution you have not thought of, as in, “why don’t you try…?”.

Coffee increases your productivity. If we add up all the points above, it is perhaps not hard to see that coffee increases your productivity. It is of course not only the liquid itself that can take credit for this improvement, but just as – or even more – important is the fact that a short break from work gives you a chance to stretch your legs and recharge your batteries a little. If you also do this together with your colleagues, you give yourself an opportunity to share your experience and also listen to others’. And all of this is thanks to your coffee craving!

In addition to all of the above should of course also be mentioned the positive effects on your health that we can ascribe the small brown beans. Coffee reduces the risks of heart disease, Alzheimers and diabetes. There is also research pointing to coffee offering increased protection against Parkinson’s and certain forms of cancer, as well as having a positive effect on your liver. And coffee drinkers supposedly live longer…

And this is where your leadership as a good, responsible manager comes in. If you make sure that your employees have access to good coffee in your office, all of you will be able to enjoy all of these coffee-related advantages. You will also appear like a manager who cares about his or her employees, making them feel appreciated and increasing the chances of them going that extra mile to do a good job. They are also more likely to recommend your company to their friends and acquaintances, which will make it easier for you to recruit new stars to your team when needed. And yes, there is research showing this too!

So even from a leadership perspective, you have a lot to gain from improving the coffee culture in your workplace. Most likely it is also the most cost-effective thing you can do to instantly increase the overall satisfaction and results. Not to mention the added bonus of the delicious taste and aroma!

Oh, and in case someone is not a coffee drinker, tea works just as well…

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