How coffee with coworkers makes for happier, more productive employees

Science may never come up with a better office communication system than the coffee break. – E. Wilson

One drink that helps employees learn new things faster, confidently express ideas, engage in constructive debate, and increase overall happiness? Coffee! While it may sound too good to be true, recent research shows that coffee offers employees numerous social, psychological, and intellectual benefits. If you like the sound of that, keep reading to learn about the advantages of drinking coffee in the workplace.

Happier, more productive employees

Increased alertness, less stress, and a more positive outlook? It’s all there in your steaming cup of caffeinated joy. On an individual level, drinking coffee in the office increases productivity and the sensation of content by increasing alertness. This increased alertness comes with more than mere productivity perks, it also helps drinkers learn new things faster, increases their ability to spot positive words, increases short-term and improves long-term memory, and minimizes sensations of stress. On an interpersonal level, a 2010 MIT study found that employees who took coffee breaks together created a “social group” and as a group, performed better than those who did not take social coffee breaks. Collectively, these studies indicate that drinking coffee at the office strengthens workforce bonds, increases personal happiness, and increases output. For employees engaged in mechanical tasks, this increased coffee alertness has also been linked with a decrease in injury.

Better team work and collaboration

On a group level, coffee has a long history of breaking down social barriers within groups, starting with the 18th century coffeehouses, which brought together a plethora of diverse minds with bold ideas, right up to modern day office meeting rooms. While we know that coffee reduces stress, increases alertness, and helps individuals spot positive words, recent studies also show that drinking coffee before engaging in a group discussion enables participants to discuss / debate sensitive topics in a more positive way and to collectively brainstorm more creative solutions. Compared to the non-coffee drinkers, those who drank coffee before or during the discussion found it easier to focus and were more likely to express their ideas and opinions. When later questioned about the group discussion, these researchers found that, in addition to increased participation, the coffee drinkers also felt more positively about both their own and their peers’ participation.

The bottom line on coffee in the workplace? It’s a great tool for improving individual wellbeing and encouraging increased employee cooperation, communication, and production. For more on how to create a cost effective office coffee solution, click here. For more on how drinking increases personal wellbeing, check out our Wellness Series.


The good things in life: coffee in the workplace

How office coffee breaks make staff work harder

The New Science of Building Great Teams

Coffee helps teams work together, study suggests

Coffee with Coworkers Is More Productive and Feels Better, UC Davis Study Finds

Productivity Through Coffee Breaks: Changing Social Networks by Changing Break Structure

Additional sources can be found on our Coffee & Health page.

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