Coffee is the silver bullet of the new millenia. Somewhere in the past 20 years or so a perfect storm of circumstances catapulted it from a basic cupboard staple to a must have early morning fix worth queuing for. One fears that a shortage of coffee beans could bring office workers to their knees.
Like connoisseurs of fine wine, we love our local coffee. We are astute judges of flavour, texture and aroma. Our hearts can be broken and our day ruined by a single subpar brew. Cafes reputations can be destroyed by milk heated a few degrees below perfection. In the eternal quest for the optimal blend every facet of the coffee experience comes under scrutiny – the brew, the milk, even the cup…
Fortunately our morning brew is more than just a delicious pleasure, studies are finding that coffee can provide real benefits to workers satisfaction, health and productivity. How? Let’s find out…
A social sip…
Never underestimate the power of coffee to bring workers together. Office coffee machines are the water coolers of the 21st century; places where workers can meet up, catch up and share ideas. In a society experiencing increased feelings of isolation, coffee can act as a catalyst to draw workers together and promote team spirit.
Employers would do well to invest in a quality coffee machine which encourages workers to remain in the office for their caffeine fix.
Coffee can reduce workplace absenteeism due to its powerful protective influence against a number of diseases. Studies have shown that coffee intake can have positive and long term effects on cognitive ability as well as protect the brain from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. It is also one of the biggest dietary sources of antioxidants.
One study by researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, showed four to five cups of coffee per day, could reduce the risk of acquiring Parkinson’s disease alone, by as much as a whopping 50 percent! Coffee has also been shown to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Aside from its benefits in the workplace, coffee drinkers may actually be extending their life span. A study by the National Cancer Institute has found that older coffee drinkers reduced their risk of death when compared to non coffee drinkers. The range of diseases which had reduced mortality rates in coffee drinkers included:
- heart disease
- respiratory disease
Caffeine has also been proven to reduce depression – lightening the mood and lifting the spirits. According to the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry our risk of developing depression can be reduced by as much as eight per cent for every cup of caffeinated coffee consumed in a day.
Chinese researchers have speculated caffeine may increase dopamine levels in the brain; which may be the reason for coffee’s ability to reduce depression and increase motivation. By binding with adenosine receptors in the brain, caffeine can increase both motivation and feelings of pleasure. Since symptoms of depression usually include decreased motivation and reduced feelings of pleasure, it stands to reason that coffee would have a beneficial effect on ones mood.
It may be surprising to note that used in moderation, coffee can actually have a calming effect on the body. In fact studies in rats demonstrate that just the delightful aroma of brewing coffee promotes healthful antioxidant release. These are known to have a positive effect on nerve cells. It can even protect them from damage related to stress. The rats not exposed to the aroma produced no such physical reactions.
Full of Beans
Finally, that early morning coffee is a great start to the day. Research has shown that coffee can boost both energy and output in employees – increasing production. Caffeine has been found to boost workers productivity by increasing alertness, efficiency and motivation.
If all the above arguments don’t convince you that coffee is a panacea for so many of today’s maladies and should have a place in every office, then I have one more – it’s delicious! Enough said – I’m off for a coffee…