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81% of Australian employees believe coffee improves workplace conversations – but coffee breaks are costing companies millions of hours

Steph Panecasio

This article is sponsored by Nespresso.  »

  • Gone are the days where employees would be satisfied with weak, tasteless coffee.
  • CEOs and business owners can create big impacts from a small change.
  • It takes, on average, 11 minutes for employees to grab a coffee outside of work each day.

Providing good, high quality coffee at work can not only make your staff feel more valued — it can also help create a more productive office culture.

With the recent push for employee well-being and balance, it stands to reason that adding in a creature comfort in the office kitchen like coffee can be a lucrative — and delicious — method to increase workplace engagement. Snacks also help.

But the days when employees would be satisfied with a cheap tasteless blend are gone, and rightfully so. Employers will need to step up their coffee game if they want people to stay in the office.

So to make sure you're not wasting money by providing the wrong perks, here's some things to think about to make sure you're doing in-office coffee correctly.

Keeping the coffee in-house

You need to pick a professional-level coffee machine with a variety of styles, as not all coffee drinkers are the same. It also needs to be easy to use, to maximise efficiency. You also need the best machine for a large amount of people.

The machine you choose can also impact the general office vibe, with its look and functionality an important feature if you're working in a client-facing area. Not only do you want a model that's going to look sleek and professional, you also don't want to be offering a lukewarm, weak mix to a client you're seeking to impress.

But even if your office isn't client-facing, you still want to make it impressive enough that your employees don't have to spend hours cumulative week-on-week popping out for a brew nearby.

A nation-wide survey by Galaxy Research Online Omnibus and commissioned by Nespresso Professional, showed that a communal coffee station at work can increase social interactivity between colleagues and increase productivity over all. With 81% of respondents believing coffee improves conversations between colleagues.

The survey also revealed that it takes on average 11 minutes for employees to grab a coffee outside of work. Mathematically speaking, this means if each of the 7.1 million Australian workers has one coffee a day, we lose roughly 1.3 million hours of productive time.

A 2012 research piece by the Harvard Business Review found that going outside to get coffee didn't improve productivity at all.

This supports the case that making a coffee with your colleague in the office and chatting about work as you do so, can help with overall productivity and staff engagement at work.

The sustainability factor

And it's not just lost time that's important. Sustainability is an essential part of attracting and retaining employees.

Using a simple step such as investing in a sustainable coffee machine, you can begin to create a sustainable office and engage employees by helping them buy into workplace-wide sustainable practices. Investing in a coffee machine -- and enough mugs to go around -- for your workplace taps into a similar trend to the KeepCup movement.

An article by the reputable, Knowledge at Wharton, details how companies can motivate staff with sustainability. The author CB Bhattacharya, who is director of the Centre for Sustainable Business at the European School of Management and Technology in Berlin, explains that staff education and a company-wide strategy that puts sustainability at the forefront is key.

"To bolster the 'can do' belief among employees, it is important to invest in educating employees about sustainability as well as to create systems and processes that make it easier for them to integrate sustainability into their business decisions," Bhattacharya wrote.

If you're after a high quality machine that also reduces your environmental impact, it's worth considering easy-to-use office-specific models like those within the Nespresso Professional range.

Given that Nespresso Professional machines are designed with offices and workspaces in mind, the interface is straightforward enough that you can get started with just a button press. Plus, with 13 different flavoured capsules, there’s enough variety for even the pickiest of staff.

The coffee within each of the capsules is derived from the Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality™ Program, which is a collaboration between Nespresso and the Rainforest Alliance that seeks to ensure all coffee used is not only the highest quality, but also gives back to the farmers and communities that harvest it.

The triple A in the name refers to the three pillars that the program seeks to achieve: quality, sustainability and productivity — enabling the creation of an entirely renewable product from coffee ground to capsule.

In other words, you can keep your coffee in-house, work towards a better carbon footprint and help employees save cash in the long run. Win win win.