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Coffee Time - What About the True Cost?


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A recent survey by coffee giant Douwe Egberts discovered some intriguing facts which any company Financial Director should ignore at his/her peril. A key finding was that an average of THREE employee/days per year is lost through workers “going out" for a coffee. An amazing 13% of these actually left the office because they were in search of a “speciality" coffee, and a staggering 26% said that they went out to get a decent quality cup of coffee - something which clearly was not available at the workplace.

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

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

The survey found that fewer than one in five or 20% of offices have a dedicated canteen or coffee area where workers can get (free or paid for) cups of coffee. Such offices usually relied on vending machines, kettles or filter pots, which in the main usually 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 staff on the premises is to ensure that good 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 generally held view that small businesses and small volume work sites have shied away from providing good quality or even industrial standard 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.

Jimi St. Pierre writes for several Office Equipment suppliers and Travel Companies in the UK, including office equipment supplier Principal Corporation , and Country Connect the latter being a publisher of a daily news feed to the UK travel industry via the Virgin Media Traveleye extranet.


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