In 1989, sociologist Ray Oldenburg coined the term “third place” in his groundbreaking book, “The Great Good Place,” which explored the idea of a public, social place outside of home (first place) and work (second place). His concept of third places looks at how public places like coffee shops, bars, hair salons and bookstores are at the heart of communities.
THIRD PLACES AS A FIRST PRIORITY
Companies have begun discovering the value of creating third places inside the office – cafés and casual spaces where employees can enjoy coffee, tea or even beer while they connect with colleagues in an informal, relaxed environment. These break zones inside the workplace serve to foster collaboration and creativity.
COFFEE’S IMPACT ON MILLENNIAL WORKERS Americans consume a staggering 136 billion cups of coffee annually. That’s an average of 3 cups a day per person, with millennials being among the most avid coffee drinkers – particularly of espresso-based drinks.
Among 25- to 39-year-olds, gourmet coffee consumption has increased from 19% to 41% between 2008 to 2016. Millennials are spending more money on higher-quality coffee experiences than any other generation, in part because millennials view coffee as a way to connect with other people. This exponential change in coffee consumption has become a catalyst for increasing workplace coffee options
BRINGING COFFEE CULTURE INTO THE WORKPLACE In recent years, workplace design and office culture have seen sweeping changes. Flexible workspaces are the new norm. It’s not a coincidence that office spaces are increasingly becoming more like coffee shops with comfortable seating, shared workspaces and open plan layouts where the coffee machine is used as a focal point to encourage interaction and collaboration among employees.
Today, thriving offices have embraced the importance of a well-considered coffee culture. They provide dedicated spaces, like break zones or break rooms, for employees to take a pause, have a coffee and interact with coworkers.
4 BENEFITS OF CULTIVATING COFFEE CULTURE There are real, tangible benefits of encouraging a robust coffee culture in the workplace, including:
1. IT’S A CONVERSATION STARTER
Coffee breaks tend to jumpstart conversations between employees. These conversations help to create the social fabric within an office.
2. IT ENCOURAGES CREATIVE THINKING
The exchange of ideas among employees, the conversations themselves, often lead to collaboration and solutions of workplace issues.
3. IT PROVIDES AN EMOTIONAL BOOST TO HAPPINESS
Caffeine can provide a much-needed energy boost. And in moderation, drinking coffee can enhance mood by producing endorphins which can promote feelings of euphoria and general well-being.
4. IT CREATES A MORE PRODUCTIVE WORKFORCE
In a recent survey by Lavazza, they found 67% - 80% of respondents globally value drinks in the workplace to support engagement, collaboration, productivity, and well-being. The research also revealed that millennials view a café area as a place to be productive – whereas, baby boomers view a café space as a social environment.
THE COFFEE BREAK, REINVENTED
Historically, the coffee break was seen as an opportunity to put off unpleasant work. But now it’s an opportunity to encourage collaborative work, allowing staff to enjoy a beverage in a communal area where they can share ideas with colleagues.
For many employees, especially millennials, a top-quality coffee experience at work is expected as a minimum. In the 2017 Leesman Index, 82% of respondents said coffee, tea and refreshment facilities were a highly important factor in their physical environment. Without access to a top-quality coffee experience in the office, your workers may decide to leave the office in search of good coffee.