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How Did Coffee Become the Backbone of the Modern Workplace?

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It’s hard to imagine a time when coffee wasn’t in the centre of the modern workplace, driving our productive and creative pursuits. It’s how we start our day, socialise with our colleagues and seek inspiration when we need a boost. So how did coffee become our miracle potion, and how can we use its power further to get the best from our work and team? Let’s find out. 

Coffee has always been associated with work

Europe, Asia and every corner of the globe have put their own twist on the art of coffee to support workers in their land. Of course, what constituted work back then was a little different to what we know today, with hard labour making up most of the jobs to build the cities we live in today. Before coffee machines, coffee was still deployed as that productive agent. Look at Singapore, coffee culture started with Europeans crossing the border to build Singapore’s infrastructure, with the demand for the coffee beans they tasted in their motherland. Singapore then sourced and mastered their own spin on coffee sourcing affordable Robusta beans, roasting them in sugar and serving over condensed milk or whatever they had in supply. 

The same trend occurred when the Turkish population came to France to build the enduring palaces and classic buildings we still see today, requiring coffee from the French and spreading the cafe culture. Countries adopting cultural trends is nothing we haven’t seen for thousands of years, but only coffee has been linked so intrinsically to working culture.

It’s an extension of the workday, fostering team collaboration and engagement 

Employers have been quick to realise and leverage just how powerful coffee can be when it’s in your corner, which is why most workplaces are now furnished with a coffee machine or at the very least a coffee making station. Modern times have proved that work-life balance is the way forward, and employees are now armed with the knowledge and expectation of what work should be. Coffee fosters a community culture in the workplace, allowing team members to collaborate and engage, which is particularly important if it is happening across the department and top-down.

If the alternative is a stuffy boardroom or fitting an appointment into an overbooked calendar, then finding time for a coffee is the ideal alternative and one that will bring productivity and forward movement to any business. By leaning into this trend and allowing coffee to make up the backbone of your workplace, you’ll have a team of engaged and alert employees grateful for the pick me up. 

It’s the format in which to network, negotiate and account manage

Now, the workplace extends beyond your internal team, it also includes those you invite into your office and into your business experience. You can use coffee as a tool to humanise you and your brand to external stakeholders or clients, and make interactions a little more memorable. A client meeting is harder to blow off when it’s a coffee instead of a blatant pitch meeting. It also shows the invited audience that your workplace has a modern edge, and can blend business with the finer things in life. If you’re not yet convinced, think of how you would feel as a client being invited to a coffee catch up with a supplier over the dreary update at their desk. A little harder to pass up, and certainly more interesting.

Coffee is a welcome addition to any workplace, as it’s long been tied to the productivity and practise of work. If you haven’t already, you should seriously consider tapping into the benefits of a good blend and improve your employee engagement and culture in the process. 


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