Category • Blog articles

Why do office workers drink so much coffee?

Alex | August 7, 2023 | 5 minute read

Walk into any bustling corporate office or cosy start-up and you’ll likely be met with the delicious aroma of freshly brewed coffee. Known to be a familiar office staple, most of us can’t start our working day without a cup in hand. The hum of coffee machines, stirring of spoons and clinking of cups have become synonymous with UK workplace culture.

In the UK, we drink at least 98 million cups of coffee per day with a large percentage of these enjoyed at work. According to research from Nescafe, over three-quarters of employees regularly drink coffee during their working day.

They also found that whilst high-quality coffee may appear to be a small part of someone’s day, it actually has a significant impact on employees’ overall views about their place of work and the culture it promotes.

In fact, people expect the same barista-style coffee experience they get in the high street as they do in the office. In the same study, 75% of employees agreed that having high-quality coffee shows that their employer cares for their well-being.

We understand having great coffee for the office is essential but have you ever wondered why we office workers seem to love coffee SO much? We dive into the reasons behind this phenomenon and ask if your team is happy with your office coffee experience.

Habit and a caffeine hit

For many office workers, coffee serves as an essential daily part of the morning routine at work and at home. However, the demanding nature of office roles can often require early wake-ups and commutes, leaving little room for a lie-in. With this in mind, that first cup of coffee becomes almost habitual to kickstart the working day with a dose of caffeine-induced energy.

As humans, we do tend to be creatures of habit and a morning coffee can provide us with a sense of structure and comfort. The act of making and enjoying coffee can become a daily ritual that office workers come to look forward to. Plus, the fresh aroma and delicious taste of coffee can evoke feelings of familiarity helping to further create a sense of comfort even in a busy office environment.

Caffeine, of course, is the primary psychoactive compound found in coffee. It’s a natural stimulant that impacts the central nervous system. Caffeine helps to increase alertness, boost energy, and support creativity and collaboration. The immediate burst of energy it provides can help us to tackle that mountain of emails, get stuck into that complex project or lead that important presentation.

Brain power

Research has shown that moderate caffeine consumption can have a positive impact on cognitive function. Coffee’s ability to enhance attention, help concentration, and improve mood and memory can be particularly beneficial in an office setting where mental focus is crucial. This is especially important during meetings, brainstorming sessions, and tasks that demand sustained concentration.

Like anything though, coffee is best enjoyed in moderation. Even though the effects of caffeine can wear off over time, our bodies can develop a tolerance to it. This means that the more coffee we drink, the less effective it may become at increasing productivity and boosting brain power. It’s recommended that we enjoy coffee responsibly and avoid consuming too much in a single day. Try not to exceed over 3 to 5 cups daily, or up to 400 milligrams of caffeine. If you’re worried about caffeine affecting your sleep, we also recommend you don’t consume it late in the afternoon.

And note that caffeine isn’t for everyone and some people may be sensitive to it. In some cases, caffeine in coffee can disturb sleep, induce anxiety and may cause digestive issues. If that’s the case, many people either cut coffee out or simply switch to a decaffeinated version.

Social interaction and networking

The office coffee machine is often in the kitchen or break-out area and it naturally becomes a central hub where colleagues gather for a quick break. These informal interactions foster a sense of community and provide opportunities for networking. Sharing a coffee break can lead to casual conversations, exchange of ideas, and spark solutions to workplace challenges.

Coffee has a way of bringing people together – think how many friendships are formed from the notion of ‘grabbing a quick coffee’. Coffee really can support you in developing an inclusive and engaging workplace culture for your office team. Think about your office coffee offering and ask yourself if your team is satisfied with the experience. We recommend speaking with your team or if you’re in a larger office, sending out a digital survey to better understand the needs of your employees. If you need a hand with what type of coffee machine to get, simply contact us and we’ll help to understand your specific requirements to keep your team happy and hydrated.

Taking short breaks

Another reason office workers seem to drink so much coffee is that it gives people a break. Taking short breaks during the day has been linked to increased productivity and creativity. A coffee break not only provides a physical pause but also a mental one. Stepping away from your desk to get a cup of coffee allows office workers to recharge and reset, which can lead to improved focus and better problem-solving upon returning to their tasks.

Office jobs often entail long periods of sitting, which can lead to lethargy and decreased circulation. Coffee breaks encourage individuals to get up, move around, and interact with colleagues. Walking to the coffee machine not only gives you a break but also encourages a change in environment, contributing to overall well-being.

In fact, according to a survey conducted by the UK-based charity organisation Mind in 2020, around 75% of workers reported that taking regular breaks, including coffee breaks, improved their well-being and mental health at work.

Get in touch with us

The relationship between office workers and coffee goes beyond a mere caffeine fix. It’s a complex interplay of rituals, social dynamics, cognitive enhancement, and the need for moments of respite in a fast-paced environment.

We understand that coffee serves as more than just a drink and by providing your team with high quality, barista-style coffee at work from a bean-to-cup machine, you can help to foster a more positive and engaging workplace culture. If you have any questions, simply get in touch with our team and we’ll be delighted to help.