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Science tells us that a coffee break is good for your productivity

A survey of European workers has revealed that workplace coffee drinking habits are shaped by time, taste, and the desire for a productivity boost: one out of three workers say they’re too busy at work to take a coffee break. The paradox in all this is that the very driver promoting focus and productivity is linked to the act of switching off, taking a short break, maybe even to grab an espresso coffee.

Roel Vaessen, Secretary General of ISIC, said: “Coffee’s often associated with the workplace, whether that’s in an office setting or on the factory floor. We wanted to understand more about workers’ relationship with coffee, given that there is some very interesting scientific research looking at the associations between caffeine, cognitive function, alertness and concentration.”

Cafeterias were regarded as a place outside the workplace until a few years ago. Now, with the development of increasingly worker-friendly workspaces, they’re being integrated into the office layout in all the modern office spaces: you’re increasingly likely to come across an open-plan space for chilling out as you get your espresso coffee.

Extensive research has shown that caffeine consumption is associated with an increase in alertness, concentration and performance. Many people will have seen first-hand the widespread custom of coffee in the workplace, whether in an
office setting, or in scenarios such as shift work in factories or hospitals. Coffee breaks are an ingrained part of work culture, and the phrase ‘taking a coffee break’ can be synonymous with taking a short period of time away from work to
chat with colleagues, clear one’s head or simply have some downtime.

It’s no longer a secret just how big an effect coffee typically has in kick-starting the brain, refreshing our focus, and on all those other things that help us feel switched on, as it were. Today coffee areas are designed with comfortable and design seating armchairs and sofas with modular tables furniture systems to create a place where you can still work, but in comfort, as well as read, unwind for a moment or have a quick catch-up, providing everything you need to perform your office duties.

Across every country, on average, coffee was the drink most closely associated with productivity, with 43% choosing it over other caffeinated and non-caffeinated options. Professor Peters noted this in the roundtable discussion, suggesting that having
work breaks with a reward (i.e. coffee) may improve wellbeing and productivity. Italians were most likely to say that coffee made them more productive at work (56%). Overall, respondents selected short breaks as being most likely to improve their productivity (63%). Finns were the biggest proponents of short breaks (75%), compared to just 53% of Dutch respondents.


About Marco Olivieri

Founder & CeO of La Mercanti Italian Furniture. Marketing and Sales specialist of La Mercanti, emphasis on strategy deployment and implementation, innovation and business excellence. “I think to myself as an innovative thinker, an avid learner and I like to bring new ideas forward to drive my staff initiatives”.

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