Five Ways Office Coffee Drives Workplace Morale

Whether it’s providing a much-needed caffeine jolt in the early afternoon or brightening the mood first thing in the morning, employees thrive on coffee. The benefits of coffee are manifold—physical, emotional, mental—but what really impacts worker production are the psychological aspects of coffee. If an employee feels confident in her value and purpose within the company, she is significantly more enthusiastic about her job, and that leads to better work ethic and increased, high quality output. Businesses fail or succeed largely on the level of productivity they coax from their employees.

The Magic of Caffeine

Caffeine—coffee’s most famous ingredient, is a stimulant that gets the heart pumping—and can help create an office full of awake, energetic workers—making for better production and greater positivity. While people may feel happier, there is actual science behind caffeine’s “happiness effect”—it stimulates the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which produces pleasant feelings.

Physical Warmth Promotes Psychological Warmth

A 2008 study found that holding a warm cup of coffee actually translated into warm feelings toward strangers—the subjects found them more welcoming and trustworthy—and presumably similar (if not enhanced) warm feelings for co-workers, whom one is already familiar with. The study posited that most people develop a strong mental association between the concepts of physical warmth and psychological warmth; thus, it might be said that having coffee around the office is just asking for people to like each other!

Social Interaction (The Coffee Break)

Speaking of positive feelings for one’s co-workers, it’s generally accepted that office community and social life are vital aspects of any employee’s morale. A 2013 study by the psychology journal Symbolic Interaction observed the effect of coffee breaks on a group of Danish workers whose company had recently undergone a large-scale merger—a generally stressful experience for its staff. Workers used the daily coffee breaks to bond over shared negative experience, which had a “depressurizing” coping effect. The researchers concluded that “coffee breaks have important social, and potentially monetary, value for organizations.” A study of office coffee breaks conducted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that “social interaction was one of the main things that predicts productivity." Coffee creates a community—and morale climbs.

Coffee As A Chance to Compliment

Coffee is more than a drink, of course—it can also be an excuse for a manager to offer praise. One study found that 78% of people would work harder in their jobs if they were regularly recognized, and just the act of scheduling a one-on-one meeting with an employee tells them their manager cares enough to spend time regularly chatting with them. From there, it doesn’t take much for a savvy manager to help her employee cultivate a winning mindset, and making a team member secure and confident is one of the most powerful morale boosters any manager can give.

Special Coffee Makes Employees Feel Special

Companies that care about high quality coffee are letting their workers know they are valued. A worker who feels appreciated is much more likely to take a positive attitude at work.