Business Info - issue 147 magazine 14 The first thing many of us do when we get to work in the morning is make a cup of coffee, assuming we haven’t already picked one up on the way in. We know the impact that coffee and caffeine can have on our own productivity, but what about its implications for the wider organisation, and should businesses be thinking about coffee more strategically? As workers started to return to offices in the summer, Nestlé Coffee Partners released a report highlighting the role of coffee in nurturing productivity and a sense of belonging in the workplace. Produced with input from Humanyze and workplace design experts Brainybirdz, Thinking Smart About Productivity considers the Caffeine boost science behind productivity, how to boost it, as well as what makes an effective workplace and how to increase collaboration. The report identifies four behaviours that exist and are nurtured in the most productive workplaces: These are: n individual flow & focus – having the ability and work settings to focus on individual tasks, without interruption; n optimised teamwork – making the most of time in structured, results- driven meetings; n team-to-team & in-team collaboration – encouraging face-to-face collaboration within your own team and, crucially, between different teams within the wider organisation; and n unplanned interactions – spontaneous exchanges and serendipitous meetings between colleagues who might not work together. Office design has a big part to play in encouraging these behaviours. For example, in The Truth About Open Offices , published by Harvard Business Review in 2019, Ethan Bernstein and BenWaber point out that different teams are nine times more likely to interact if they are on the same floor. Corporate culture can be a big influence, too, for example by encouraging employees to take breaks and stretch their legs, which is likely to lead to more frequent engagement with co-workers on other teams. Coffee boost Not surpisingly, Nestlé Coffee Partners highlights the role that coffee and the placement of drinks stations can play. For instance, it recommends placing purely functional drinks stations at the end of each row of desks so that workers engaged in ‘individual flow & focus’ can get a coffee without losing concentration. Similarly, having a small coffee machine in a meeting room can improve time management during meetings. Drinks stations with a more social purpose (and perhaps a coffee shop feel) that support ‘unplanned interactions’ should be placed away from working areas, for example in a kitchen or break- out area, although there is also scope to create shared facilities that foster better team-to-team collaboration at the point in open plan offices where different departments meet. Nestlé Coffee Partners has developed a range of drinks stations that cater to what it sees as the three main drivers of coffee consumption in the workplace: coffee as a reason to take a well-earned break from work; a coffee shop experience to help attract and delight employees; and connecting with colleagues and visitors over a cup – drivers that neatly mirror the four behaviours that businesses need to nurture to improve the productivity of their employees. Now is the time to think more strategically about coffee, says Nestlé Coffee Partners PRODUCTIVITY From pod to podcast Nestlé Coffee Partners is building on the release of its Thinking Smart About Productivity report with the launch of a new productivity podcast featuring advice and insight from world- leading academics and business experts. These include Despina Katsikakis, Global Lead at Total Workplace, Cushman &Wakefield; Dr Fiona Kerr, Founder & CEO, the NeuroTech Institute; Patrick Marsh and Simon French, both Directors at Glaxo SmithKline’s Worldwide Real Estate business units; Primo Orpilla, Principal at San Francisco design firm Studio O+A; Kristi Woolsey, Associate Director at Boston Consulting Group, New York; and Bruce Daisley, Ex-Twitter VP. Smart Coffee Break is a series of six 15-minute podcasts, each with an accompanying article, that offers guidance on creating workspaces that will not only stimulate innovation but also help boost productivity and collaboration. Book-ended with two episodes – Intro to Productivity and Summing up the Series – the Smart Coffee Break series focuses on the four behaviours needed to optimise productivity that Nestlé Coffee Partners identified in Thinking Smart About Productivity , namely Individual Flow & Focus, Optimised Teamwork, Team-to-Team & In- Team Collaboration, and Planned & Unplanned Interaction. Coinciding with the launch of the podcast, Nestlé Coffee Partners surveyed 1,000 UK workers about their coffee-drinking habits. More than three quarters (77%) feel more productive and have better work ideas after a cup of coffee; 39% claim that a caffeinated drink gives them renewed vigour to crack a difficult problem; 30% say that access to refreshments, like coffee or tea, helps make internal work meetings with colleagues more productive. Despina-Katsikakis