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Café Culture at work: the work/latte balance

We explore café culture in the workplace.

How much coffee do Brits drink in a day?

Well, it’s enough to keep you awake at night: in fact according to the British Coffee Association, we drink 98,000,000 cups of coffee a day. That’s a lot of washing up.

We are a coffee-loving nation. Coffee and dogs, that’s our thing. In 2018 according to The Independent, “65 per cent of coffee is drunk at home, 25 per cent at work or while studying, and the rest is consumed in shops, bars and restaurants”. In 2022 those lines have blurred, as people work from home with a steady supply of Nescafe, perch in co-working spaces with top of the range espresso machines and work in offices with dedicated coffeeshop-style spaces.

Coffee and Collaboration

It’s no surprise that many of our projects (such as this one for Immersive Labs) are focussed around central tea and coffee points – often designed with an easygoing coffeeshop aesthetic in mind. For employees, the workspace experience has got to offer something better than the home and at least as compelling as the local coffee shop. Providing a dedicated, relaxed space with great quality facilities is a prime way to offer people something special when they’re in the office – not only the space, but the type of experiences it can enable.

Popular wisdom used to have it that smokers were the best-informed people in any organisation – the reason being they would meet by chance, away from their desks and develop trusted relationships through informal interaction without the limitations of hierarchy, department or co-location. Yet we think this has now morphed into coffee drinkers; those that make a coffee every couple of hours are bound to bump into others and chit-chat about work or more personal news. In turn, these spontaneous beverage-based encounters are therefore helping to form more open and sociable workplaces – key factors in successful collaboration and teamwork.

In fact, teapoints are new watercoolers – places where culture and cohesion are created, which studies show can lead to organisational productivity gains of up to 10%.

Yes, this coffee is making me more efficient actually.

Does caffeine really help you stay focused and concentrate better. In short: yes. There’s a chemical called adenosine that builds up in the brain and induced feelings of sleepiness. As caffeine is a stimulant it blocks the effect of adenosine and helps you feel more alert – and do better work.

And it’s not just a performance boost; a survey by Staples found that coffee makes 82% of workers feel happier.

For many businesses coffee on tap is a small perk with a big impact. However those businesses who go a step further and provide a well-designed, relaxing environment in which their team members can meet, bond and reinvigorate will surely see less of their staff take their coffee “to go”.

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