Why coffee is the social glue of the modern workplace

The workplace evolves with the workforce and quality coffee is the social glue of the most successful offices in 2020. Coffee breaks spark social interactions and, more importantly, innovation, which is business critical for future-focused organisations. And coffee’s influential role for businesses will only surge in the coming years.

That’s because business leaders have realised that coffee breaks help inspire and enable new levels of congeniality, learning and productivity within a community. Moreover, coffee is the catalyst for collaboration, creativity and contemplation.

“The workplace is changing rapidly, with workers demanding more flexibility in their environment while enjoying the community feel of an office, such as enjoying coffee catch-ups with colleagues,” says Guillaume Chesneau, managing director of Nespresso UK and Ireland. “People are the most important asset in a successful working environment. Ultimately, they are the ones who create thriving office culture and collaborate to form better innovation and better business.”

Professor Jeremy Myerson, director of WORKTECH Academy, a global online knowledge network exploring the future of work, agrees. “The future of the workplace is a social and interactive one,” he says. “Offices will become places where people go to have conversations, share ideas, collaborate with others, and to be trained and mentored.”

The workplace is changing rapidly, with workers demanding more flexibility in their environment while enjoying the community feel of an office, such as enjoying coffee catch-ups with colleagues

Myerson believes we are moving towards a “much more social landscape in which offices begin to look like hotel lobbies or retail malls”. He continues: “Hospitality, generosity and conviviality, often based around food, drink and social activities, are going to be very important anchors in how these spaces are managed.”

Martin Raymond, co-founder of strategic foresight consultancy The Future Laboratory, says: “Looking at the shift in the workplace, the office is increasingly social and hospitable, and work is almost secondary. One Swedish survey shows that if you put the accoutrements of hospitality into a building or an environment, it will increase productivity by 20 per cent.”

Exploring the many benefits of high-quality coffee

The trend for collaborative workspaces will continue to grow and evolve, according to the Nespresso Professional Workplace Futures report, published in October by The Future Laboratory. By 2030, workspaces will be designed and built to satisfy the multi-faceted identities of tomorrow’s fluid workforce, with spaces to suit different needs, from co-working and collaboration to socialising, creativity, even neurodiversity and private research, the study suggests.

Organisations that embrace new concepts, such as using technology to urge workers to take breaks in social spaces and encourage conviviality, are likely to experience a boost in productivity. Nespresso coffee stats

ComRes’ Coffee in the Workplace report, for example, demonstrates the impact social spaces can have on overall efficiency, with more than two thirds of workers (67 per cent) feeling more productive after a coffee break. Furthermore, four in five workers (82 per cent) who take coffee breaks at work during the day feel they help relieve stress.

Provision of good coffee is also a differentiator when it comes to attracting and retaining top talent. The ComRes research reveals that three quarters of workers (75 per cent) agree having high-quality coffee available in the office suggests the employer cares about their wellbeing. Hence, dwell areas and pause points play an essential part in creating a culture of resilience.

Angela Oguntala, director at Greyspace, a design and futures consultancy, says in the future workplace coffee breaks will become more important for wellbeing-conscious employees and employers. “While people will still believe in the dream of the hustle, we’ll also see a growing segment redefine the speed at which they work, slowing down to protect their health,” she says.

“We need to create a workspace that is open and collaborative, but in the right kind of way. Employees are searching for ways to minimise distraction and have protective spaces, some of which are social and some of which aren’t.”

Hybridisation of the workspace and hospitality

These spaces will filter out from capital cities and business districts and become increasingly localised, causing co-working to become “lo-co-working”. My Hustle, a Perth organisation that turns small bars into casual weekday co-working spaces, shows what this lo-co-working future might look like. Its first location enables workers to choose between private booths or communal tables, while enjoying free wifi, unlimited coffee and tea, and discounts at surrounding businesses.

With work now based around conviviality, the meshing of the workspace and hospitality is a natural one. This trend, the Workplace Futures report predicts, will inspire a new wave of hospitality-focused brands to develop their own co-working spaces, as a new workplace phenomenon emerges: the “worktel”.

Worktels, a hybridisation of the office and the hotel, are rising in number. They are spaces for people to work, play and to stay. It is likely that within a decade, socially focused lobby spaces equipped with flexible workstations will sit alongside areas designed for impromptu team huddles and fully private rooms, enabling all kinds of work to occur.

It’s clear from the new Nespresso Professional study that hospitality will be central to the future workplace, providing workers with food and drink options, including coffee, throughout the day and thought-provoking entertainment in the evenings.

“The trends outlined in our report point towards a radical transformation in the expectations of the 2030 workforce,” says Chesneau. “We predict a demand in workplaces that serve a multitude of purposes, inspiring social interactions, facilitating focus and promoting wellbeing.”

And what permeates through all those three facets? Good-quality coffee breaks, of course.

For more information please visit nespresso.com/pro/uk/en/home