Coffee has become so ubiquitous in the American workplace that many offices have set up a coffee machine in the break area. Yet that alone doesn’t achieve the atmosphere of productivity that people associate with coffee shops, which budding writers have unofficially made their workplace of choice. If you’d rather your employees not wander off to the nearest Starbucks, why not tap into coffee shop culture to boost productivity in your own office?
First, consider what people most enjoy about coffee shops as a temporary workspace: access to caffeine. Many people enjoy specialty drinks such as lattes, while others prefer tea. Also, many people prefer non-dairy milk options for their drink. Your office’s coffee station should offer choices so that your workers don’t feel they need to leave the site to get their drink of choice. Consider adding an automated espresso drink machine, an electric tea kettle, and an array of alternative kinds of milk.
Second, try to capture the atmosphere of a coffee shop. While it’s crucial to offer ergonomic workstations, it can also be helpful to offer communal seating areas as meeting locations. For example, several cushy armchairs in a circle can encourage people to gather and discuss their work. This area can also feature low-volume, ambient music, which can improve focus. Let go of the idea that only meetings set in conference rooms can be productive. In fact, scheduled meetings can hurt productivity; if you offer a space where people can meet and collaborate on their schedule, you’ll likely see a boost in both productivity and morale.
People often feel more productive when they’re in a new location; it rewards humans’ need for novelty, and it encourages them to break out of their habits, which can form ruts. Providing alternate meeting locations, as described above, can help workers come out of their routines and potentially be more productive. You may also want to offer “coffee break” times to your employees, during which they’re encouraged to visit the coffee station and get away from their desks. Short breaks boost productivity and focus.
Let’s face it: grey-and-white workspaces are dull and boring, and one thing people like about coffee shops are their look and feel: warm lighting, art on the walls, luxurious finishings. Now, a total renovation of your workspace might be out of the question. However, there are some simple things you can do:
Tapping into the “coffee shop effect” is easy to do and can increase productivity by boosting morale, cultivating creativity, and encouraging collaboration. And, the actual caffeine helps too.