Coffee Machine for Employees

In today's business world, with its connectivity and information flows, good employees are likely to be the targets of your competitors? recruitment drives.

Add to this the fact that in the knowledge economy, these employees provide your company with a competitive advantage, and you realise pretty quickly that you need them to be happy ? but you already knew that didn?t you?

The question then is how to keep them happy? Employees who are unhappy or who leave, present the company with a cost that is often far greater than imagined. Keeping them happy with more money, promotions, bigger offices, better located offices?(the list is seemingly endless) certainly helps, but then if your staff are good at what they do, you?re in a bidding war with the company down the street who also recognises this.

Smart companies have other ways of making staff smile. We?ve been supplying coffee machines to corporate clients for years but over the past two years we?ve seen a tremendous demand for higher quality coffee machines ? coffee machines that use real coffee beans and provide a cup of really fresh coffee on demand.

Disappearing fast are the days of the pour-over coffee flask?you know the one?when freshly brewed, that little glass jar is the envy of all, and there is no shortage of people around the ?lifesaver?. The problem is that it then sits on the boil and after 10 minutes no-one wants to venture near it, fearing that bitter and burnt taste. Worse still, the last one to use it often has the task of preparing the next pot?so human nature takes over and that last cup sits brewing until it turns into sludge!

Enter the automatic coffee machine ?great concept with beverages available at the push of a button, but the problem until recently was that it produced instant coffee and not very good at that. In desperation, usually early in the morning or during the night shift, the buttons did eventually get pressed, but grudgingly at that!

The good news for those who like decent coffee is that the coffee machine manufacturers have made great progress with automated fresh brew systems. Today you can put fresh beans into a coffee vending machine, along with really decent powdered cappuccino milk powders, and after 20 seconds the beans have been ground, the coffee drawn down and the dairy powder whipped up to provide a coffee shop quality cappuccino.

So it isn?t surprising that companies are turning to softer employee satisfaction generators like decent office beverages to keep staff happy. Besides, as we all know, the coffee machine is a great place for interaction between staff and for sharing ideas.

Paul Jacobs, managing director of Office Angels, a UK based company, was quoted in The Scotsman as saying "pay packets are, of course, vitally important, but for many it's the little things that can really make the difference between a good working environment and a great one." The article concludes that many workers do long hours of unpaid overtime, so many employers are also enjoying the perk of having dedicated staff. Keeping staff happy can lead to better staff retention and smaller recruitment bills.

We see a lot of companies investing in high quality bean-to-cup coffee machines because they not only provide a homely odour (the good kind!) but they keep staff on site. In a study by Wirthlin International entitled ?Speciality Beverage Systems? Impact on the Workplace? (, over 15% of staff were found to leave the office daily in search of hot beverages! With a good coffee machine there is no reason to pop down to the local coffee franchise which takes valuable time away from the office ? and usually a lot more than imagined given the traffic jams and congested parking lots that epitomise our city cultures.

The Wirthlin study interviewed 76 procurement managers and 383 staff from a wide variety of companies about workplace coffee. It found that 83% of the staff stated that the provision of a wide variety of hot beverages was one of the most visible daily staff benefits and 86% said that companies that valued them were more likely to offer high quality beverages. Interestingly, over 90% of managers making decisions on office coffee services said that employees would be more productive if staff could obtain a beverage in the office and 96% said that the coffee machine offered a necessary break between activities. Valuable? I think so.

The fact that coffee from coffee machines was readily available was also seen as an important attribute, and for decision makers worried about abuse, how many cups of fresh brew coffee can you really drink a day! (before bouncing around the room on a caffeine high!). Of course coffee machines can also provide fresh tea, hot chocolate, espresso and a host of other specialty coffees like moccachino, caf? latte and the like.

So are we surprised that we?ve seen a demand for these automated fresh brew coffee machines in the corporate world? I guess not. That reminds me, we need one around here for our staff!

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About The Author, Steve Giddings