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Our coffee runs are killing our productivity

This is what your coffee run is doing to you productivity. (Source: Getty)
This is what your coffee run is doing to you productivity. (Source: Getty)

It’s widely accepted that coffee is great for productivity, scientifically proven to boost our concentration, focus and energy levels.

But new research has revealed that the break we take for our caffeine runs isn’t so conducive to getting work done.

According to a new survey commissioned by Nespresso, a coffee run takes approximately 11 minutes – and this results in 1.3 million hours of work lost if all the 7.1 million workers across Australia went out for a coffee a day.

However, while it may result in less work done, it’s better for your workplace relationships: the same survey said that 81 per cent of Aussie employees felt coffee facilitated better communication between colleagues.

It has to be noted, Nespresso, as a manufacturer of pods and pod machines, has a heavy interest in encouraging people not to leave the office but still guzzle down coffees.

Short breaks don’t work: Harvard

A 2012 Harvard study actually found that, against conventional wisdom, short breaks at work don’t boost productivity after all, and in fact the breaks that involved work-related tasks boost energy.

“Organisations preach the value of outside walks and encourage employees to use break time to disconnect and recharge. My own research on stress relief indicates there’s a value to disconnecting from work,” said Portland State University assistant professor Charlotte Fritz at the time.

“But the findings on microbreaks suggest that during the workday, it may not be the best approach.”

Microbreaks that weren’t job-related, like getting a glass of water, calling someone, or going to the bathroom didn’t seem to affect people’s energy – and some activities like listening to music or making weekend plans actually lowered energy levels.

“The only time people showed an increase in vitality was after they took short breaks to do work-related things, such as praise a colleague or write a to-do list,” said Fritz.

So a coffee break may not give you the hit you want, as it’s associated with higher fatigue.

“I think some research indicates that caffeine is energising for a little while, but then you go back to being fatigued and need even more caffeine.”

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