The Real Cost of Workplace Coffee

A 2007 survey by coffee giant Douwe Egberts revealed some fascinating facts – which any company Financial Director cannot really afford to ignore. The main discovery was that an average of 3 employee/days per year is lost through workers leaving the workplace for a coffee. An intriguing 13% of these actually left the office because they wanted a “speciality” coffee, and an alarming 26% said that they went out to get a decent quality cup of coffee – something which clearly was not made available to them at work..

Intriguingly, 62% of the respindents admitted that they went for a coffee simply as an excuse to leave the office, although and encuoraging 50% said that they would stay inside if there was a better choice of brew at the office.

The survey was carried out in London in two separate locations and involved over 100 respondents.

The research established that fewer than one in five (or 20%) of offices have a staff canteen or coffee area where individuals can get (free or paid for) cups of coffee. Such workplaces usually supplied instant coffee vending machines, kettles or filter pots, which inevitably resulted in poor quality coffee. This was the chief reason why so many of the respondents made for the exit in search of a decent quality “pick me up” rather than make do with such meagre offerings.

Thus, the key to keeping personnel on the premises is to make sure that high quality coffee-making facilities are available at all times. However, the survey also revealed that staff have become more and more discerning in their tastes, and insist on speciality coffees, and the ability to ring the changes according to their mood and taste on the day. Even such things as supplying particular brands of coffee, or bigger cups as offered by the major coffee chains, would go a long way to persuading staff to stay at their desks rather than lose company time.

The survey confirmed the received wisdom that small businesses and small volume work sites have avoided providing good quality coffee-making machines. These are seen as an expensive luxury, difficult to use and difficult to maintain. Hence the best such companies can do is provide instant coffee from vending machines, a kettle and spoon – or even nothing at all.

However, with the increasing trend to leave the office and spend up to 9 minutes at a time away from their desks, worker behaviour patterns are forcing a re-think on the actual costs of coffee in the workplace, and an increase in enquiries for versatile, quality coffee-making machines.