In my first job in recruitment, I went to train for 2 weeks at the company’s Sydney head office. The first thing I noticed in the kitchen when I got there was a top of the line coffee machine. It made a brilliant flat white at the push of a button and most staff loved it more than their co-workers.
My supervisor at the time pointed out that this machine was purchased for $10,000 and that the Managing Director felt it had been worth every penny. Why? Productivity and the lift in spirits for the staff.
Coffee is an addictive drug. It is not as harmful as cigarettes or illicit drugs, but it can still affect your mood. The last time I went a day without caffeine, I scored myself a shocking migraine and I am pretty sure I was unpleasant to be around. Usually I am great company.
What was happening in this office was interesting though. Staff would frequently go downstairs 2-3 times a day to buy coffee at the café in the building’s lobby. That was a ride 20 floors down a lift, then waiting around for 10 minutes to get coffee and a ride back up to the office. 10 minutes to simply get coffee 2-3 time a day really ads up in an office with 50-60 staff.
With the new machine, there was a 30 second walk to the kitchen, 1 minute to make your own coffee, then a short walk back to your desk. Without exaggeration it could ad 20-30 minutes of work time to an employee’s day.
Now for those who were budget conscious and wouldn’t buy 3 coffees a day, they were stuck with instant coffee. Now, all of a sudden they had a better café quality fix without having to take their wallets out.
An office where everyone can get their caffeine hit without spending money or wasting 20 minutes a day turned into a pretty happy place. Now I am not saying coffee was the main reason for this, they also ran up a pretty massive bill on Friday night drinks, but it certainly helped during the week.
The machine itself was actually advertised as a key selling point in attracting new staff. See for yourself in a Seek search too – coffee machine has hundreds of results as a selling point (when you get past the coffee machine technician jobs).
Here are a few examples from 5 random job ads I found on Seek;
1. we also have a sunny BBQ deck and coffee machine.
2. a great lunchroom (and coffee machine)
3. recently remodelled offices and a brand new coffee machine!
4. we also have a pool table, table tennis table and coffee machine
5. we provide a great environment, with the right people and as much machine coffee as you can drink.
So even if you don’t drink coffee, ask yourself, what difference would a decent machine make in your office? You don’t need to go as crazy as spending $10k, but a small investment in something so simple could have a big impact.