Coffee – The Secret Ingredient for Increased Productivity?

Mar 31, 2015 5:30 PM ET

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According to Statistic Brain, coffee, fresh brewed and fragrant, is enjoyed by 100 million Americans every day—and 25% drink more than 13 cups each week. Our caffeinated nation’s productivity outpaces all other countries, and though this can’t be directly correlated to coffee consumption, it’s probably a contributing factor.  While I’m not a huge coffee drinker, I can tell you that a little surge of caffeine boosts my output and really keeps me alert, both physically and mentally.

Most coffee drinkers would acknowledge that their morning cup of joe boosts energy levels and helps them pick up the pace.  In fact, recent studies have shown that caffeine helps female volleyball players hit the ball harder and jump higher, rowers go further and cyclists go faster.  And, it makes us more productive, too. Pro-coffee NPR, who dedicated an entire week to celebrating America’s favorite beverage, calls it “The Miracle Drug for the Tired.” While there is a wide variation on how caffeine affects us individually, several small studies have shown that low doses improve alertness and mental performance especially for tired people, i.e., most of us—and enhance productivity.

So in addition to waking us up in the morning and supporting productivity, did you know that coffee can also help alleviate workplace stress? According to productivity writer Jill Harness, 46% of workers claim they are overall less productive without their java, 20% of coffee drinkers claim that it allows them to better socialize with their co-workers and 10% say that it helped them focus before giving a presentation. 5% of respondents even claimed that buying clients coffee helped them gain the favor of those clients.

Another study found a correlation between caffeine consumption and a reduction in workplace accidents. “Its indirect action on arousal, mood and concentration contributes in large part to its cognitive-enhancing properties,” according to the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. Certainly worth noting!

Considering its importance, access to good coffee is an easy way for employers to improve their employees’ work experience. Researchers found that a coffee break with co-workers created a positive social group climate and was associated with a general increase in productivity. A great experience associated with the corporate café instead of a detour to the corner coffee shop creates an overall positive association with the workplace. Add a wider choice of healthy food offerings, quiet spots for conversation, friendly, knowledgeable staff, high tech payment options and perhaps ethically-sourced coffee and the corporate café can soon become the preferred destination for coffee and build company relationships.


Mark Bickford is the President of Business & Industry Solutions at Sodexo.