For lots of people, the workplace and coffee go hand in hand. We start our days with a trip to the coffee machine, and use coffee breaks as a way to escape our desk and workload for a few minutes throughout the day. More than just providing a caffeine boost, the coffee machine can become a social hub for any workplace. We already know that coffee can have a range of benefits on your health, and that investing in a high quality in-house coffee experience is vital in the modern workplace, but how are interior designers and business owners adapting to this? How easy is it to integrate coffee culture into modern workplace design? And, more importantly, is it worth it?
Recent years have seen a huge change in workplace design and business culture; gone are cramped cubicles and overly formal offices, nowadays we expect a more flexible approach. In fact, spaces inspired by coffee shops are becoming increasingly popular, and are often furnished with comfortable seating, shared desks and open plan layouts, with the coffee machine being used as a central focal point to encourage interaction and collaboration between employees.
It’s no secret that many creative and successful ideas happen away from the desk. Coffee shops, and coffee shop-inspired workspaces, encourage a more relaxed working approach, and are usually a far cry from the often monotony of the office. But relaxed doesn’t have to mean unproductive, and many individuals find that working from a coffee shop can have a huge impact on their creativity and output. The change in scenery, and relaxed and collaborative environment, can often help with difficult or creative tasks.
Embracing coffee culture in the workplace, particularly by creating a dedicated space for employees to take a break and have a coffee, is a great way of encouraging interaction and conversation between employees. Where the coffee break has previously presented an opportunity to delay dreaded work tasks, with the right coffee machine in the right location, instead it can encourage work to continue during coffee breaks, allowing staff to enjoy their drink in a communal area where they can share ideas and discuss ideas with colleagues.
It would be foolish to deny the benefits the coffee itself can have on your employees. As well as the myriad health benefits (such as being full of antioxidants, reducing the risk of diabetes and more), the caffeine in coffee can provide a much-needed energy boost to help productivity.
We know that for many employees, no matter the industry they work in, a top-quality coffee experience at work is expected as a minimum. Recent data from SAP Concur found that their staff were holding a staggering 10,000 meetings per month in Starbucks, and according to the 2017 Leesman Index, 82% of respondents said that tea, coffee and refreshment facilities were a highly important factor in their physical environment. Without access to a first-class coffee experience onsite, your team may decide leave the office in search of good coffee. Today’s consumer is developing a deeper understanding of, and interest in, coffee, so investing in a high-quality coffee machine that serves premium specialty beverages, will help to create a coffee culture in the workspace, leading to a more productive and positive workforce.
Coffee culture in the workplace
How to incorporate coffee culture into workplace design
There are many ways to integrate coffee culture into your workplace, depending on the budget you have. It may be that you can afford a complete office re-fit, and can install a new high-quality machine, or you may have a strict budget, in which case simply encouraging staff to take a few minutes away from their desk to grab a coffee might be the best way forward.
First of all, it’s important that the coffee you are offering is premium quality, or you risk your staff wanting to leave the office for a better tasting drink. If you’re only offering your team an old jar of instant coffee and some sugar sachets, it may be time to rethink and invest in a high-performance, first-class machine that can consistently deliver a premium, barista-quality beverage. A high-quality coffee machine may seem like a big investment on the face of it, but the benefits offered can be huge. A fully automatic bean-to-cup machine like TopBrewer is a great addition to any space. The simple-to-use app and ability to completely personalise every drink from the large drinks menu makes it the perfect choice for a workplace.
In recent years there has been a shift from solitary desks, cubicles and desktop computers to a more flexible, agile approach to working. These days, as long as you have your laptop and reliable WiFi, you can work from almost anywhere, and there has been a shift towards encouraging a more collaborative working style. Traditional 9 to 5 working schedules have been replaced by flexible or remote working, isolated cubicles are changing to open-plan, collaborative spaces, and there is a much bigger focus on employee engagement and wellbeing.
Creating a collaborative culture is as important as the environment itself. It is all very well creating aesthetically beautiful breakout areas if staff feel judged if they are spending time away from their desks. Promoting activity based working is a great way to encourage staff to utilise all areas of the workspace freely.
Coffee Culture & the Third Space
This shift in working style has started to change the layout and design of workspaces. Designers are adjusting and are having to come up with innovative ideas to provide efficient layouts that meet modern needs. We are seeing an increase in breakout zones and “third spaces”, both of which function to foster creativity and collaboration in an often informal environment. Add to this the increased focus on employee wellbeing , and we’re seeing a big shift in design.
Introducing a breakout zone or “third space” equipped with a first-class coffee machine will help promote a coffee culture in your workplace. Adobe recently installed seven TopBrewers throughout their office in breakout zones, kitchen areas and “third spaces” as a way to provide a premium coffee experience for staff, but also to create collision zones aimed at encouraging collaboration between employees. If your budget doesn’t stretch to creating a dedicated breakout zone complete with coffee machine, add a few comfortable chairs and a table to your existing coffee area to encourage staff to grab a coffee and chat for a few minutes before returning to their desk. You may find that the creativity and productivity of your team increases.