We all know that coffee is everyone’s favorite coworker but few realize that coffee can actually help you become the runner-up. First, and this is critical, start sipping your coffee before you engage your colleagues. Coffee boosts your mood and helps you relax by blocking the adenosine receptors and increasing the release of dopamine (more on that here). Next, invite your coworkers out for a cup. According to a Yale University study, holding a cup of coffee encourages the holder to look more favorably upon those (s)he is conversing with1. To the coffee-less colleague, you are just another room-temperature peer. With a steaming cup in the hands of your co-drinker, you are transformed into a warm, thoughtful person. Warm cup, warm hands, warm heart — society looks better through coffee steamed eyes!
No time for chit chat? No problem. Rather than invite colleagues out for a cup of coffee, suggest you grab a cup en route the next meeting. According to an Ohio State University study2, drinking coffee during a discussion enables participants to discuss or 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 share their ideas and opinions and felt more positively about both their own and their peers’ participation. The coffee drinkers also expressed more willingness to work with their co-drinkers in the future.
Coffee is good for much more than just focus, it helps build social groups, predisposes the drinker to be receptive to new ideas, and makes the holder of the cup feel affirmed in their belief that the person / people before them are a good, warm, and well-meaning. Bottom line: brew up a pot and lead your coworkers to the coffee machine.