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The Gender Absence Gap: How to Invest in Women in the Workplace

The Gender Absence Gap: How to Invest in Women in the Workplace

What is the gender absence gap, and how can organisations address it?

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A Cup of Coffee is a Warming Cup of Wellbeing in the Workplace

23 September 2019 8 min read

Cup of coffee with spilled coffee beans

September 29 is National Coffee Day. It’s a day to celebrate the miracle that is coffee.

For coffee is indeed a miraculous brew. It’s versatile, with styles and methods of preparation to suit everyone. It tastes fantastic. It perks you up, cheers you up, and gives you an essential boost when you need it most. Coffee also brings people together. And if the coffee’s good enough, it really can bring out the best in anyone.

Your business already runs on coffee. Most of your workforce probably drinks the stuff. Some of them probably swear by it. But on National Coffee Day, we suggest you take the time to reflect on the huge contribution coffee can make to your workplace wellbeing.

Let’s take a look at some of the ways coffee can make any organisation a more harmonious and productive place to work.

An Essential Pick Me Up in More Ways Than One

Everyone knows that coffee can give you an energy boost. That’s why a lot of people drink it. But have you ever wondered why? What’s the science behind the kick?

It’s not enough to simply say that “coffee contains caffeine, and caffeine gives you energy.” Because the truth is, caffeine has so many metabolic effects on your body that it’s hard to say for sure exactly what causes the spike in energy levels.

Our best guess is that caffeine boosts the effects of certain neurotransmitters in your brain, including serotonin and dopamine. Dopamine can affect your concentration levels. You know when you’re tired, and your brain basically orders you to go to bed? Dopamine can block the receptors in your brain that tell you to go to sleep. So by drinking coffee, you’re effectively tricking your brain into thinking you’re more alert than you really are.

But the effect is more than psychological. The caffeine in coffee can trigger an adrenaline release. This can make your heart beat faster, with more blood sent to your muscles. This, in turn, will make your liver release more sugar into your bloodstream, which can give you more energy.

So drinking coffee at work can boost your concentration and energy levels. You’ll feel more productive and less tired. And if you don’t feel so tired, you may feel happier and more motivated.


Women smelling a cup of coffee


You don’t even have to drink coffee for it to make you feel good. The smell of it alone can make a positive difference to your mood.

Real estate agents have a neat little trick for selling houses. Shortly before potential buyers arrive for a viewing, they’ll brew a fresh batch of coffee.

Why? Because the rich and heady scent of the brew makes potential buyers feel like the house they’re browsing could be their home. They start to picture lazy mornings and relaxing afternoons, drinking quality coffee out of their favourite cup, loving life. The scent of the coffee makes them think of a lifestyle – and the life they consider is a life worth living.

When the decorating brand Harris set out to find the UK’s favourite smells, coffee made the top five. Freshly baked bread topped the list, but you can’t exactly install a bakery in your organisation’s kitchen. However, you can quite easily introduce the beautifully evocative scent of coffee to your workplace.

People love the smell of coffee. Chances are that you love the smell of coffee. The scent of coffee in your workplace could be a small yet significant step towards creating a working environment where people can be their best.

It’s a Cultural Thing

What do you think of when you hear the words “café culture”? If you’re anything like us, you think of beautiful, well-dressed people sipping artisanal coffee in a chic city like Rome or Paris, leisurely yet enthusiastically discussing anything that comes to mind.

Have you ever thought about introducing café culture to your workplace? Think about it – a meeting room with comfy chairs and delicious bean-to-cup coffee. A relaxed pace with a loose agenda. There’s no such thing as a bad idea, and everyone gets a chance to speak. And when someone’s talking, everyone else is listening.

This is the sort of environment where good ideas can happen. When was the last time you encouraged your team to just talk among themselves? The coffee could be the fuel for a genuinely productive chat. And if you’re there to guide and record the conversation, who knows what bright ideas might emerge?

Schedule a monthly café session for your team and you could plant the seeds of your future growth. But coffee can also make a huge difference to employee relations. You’ll encourage your team to communicate as equals. They’ll reach out to each other and listen, perhaps for the very first time.

Let’s Go for Coffee

Two women drinking coffee in a cafe


We recently explored the various company cultures that exist in the working world. Positive company culture is one that encourages communication and collaboration. It’s a workplace where creativity can thrive, and where people address potential issues long before they become problems.

If you introduce the principles of café culture to your workplace, you’ll be taking a step towards creating the sort of company culture that allows people to thrive. But this isn’t the only way that coffee can contribute to positive company culture.

Want to show an employee that they’re valued, and that you respect their opinions? Take them for a coffee. Take them somewhere nice, and insist upon paying the bill. Get them a cake too, if they want one.

Going for coffee is a chance for an informal chat. It’s not an appraisal, and it’s certainly not a disciplinary. But at the same time, you’re not here as friends. Rather, they’re here to talk, and you’re here to listen.

Let them talk about their job. Let them know that nothing’s off the table and that you’ll treat whatever they say in the strictest confidence. And most important of all, make it clear that you’ll do your very best to act upon what they say.

Who knows what you’ll get out of this chat? You might discover that the employee has an issue, either at work or at home. If it’s in your power to help, you might be able to make their job more enjoyable while reducing the possibility of future absence.

Or you might discover that the employee has some ideas about how things should be run. Maybe they’ve spotted a source of inefficiency. Or perhaps they’ve identified a potential area for growth. In any case, here’s an opportunity to make things better for everyone!

It might not be possible to take every single one of your employees for coffee. And some employees may not even be up for the idea. But it’s just another example of how coffee can act as the catalyst for communication, personal development, and business growth. So why not think about taking some members of your team for coffee?

The Health Benefits of Coffee

An integral part of any employee wellbeing program is a company culture that champions exercise and healthy living. Coffee in itself won’t help your employees achieve the many benefits of exercise. But it can certainly feed into a healthy lifestyle.

A cup of coffee before a workout can encourage you to push yourself that little bit further. Caffeine can encourage the release of calcium ions, which can help keep your muscles nice and limber during exercise. Caffeine can also encourage your body to produce more fuel for your muscles, so you may experience reduced exertion.

Obviously, you should never push yourself too hard when working out. But if the caffeine in coffee can encourage you to exercise even a tiny bit harder, then your workout might be a tiny bit more effective at making you healthier and happier in the long run. And when it comes to exercise every little helps!

But you know how fantastic you can feel after a cup of coffee? This feeling of wellbeing seems to fascinate scientists. Many studies are looking into the many potential long-term health benefits of coffee. It may help prevent type 2 diabetes while lowering your risk of developing kidney stones, gout, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.

This article provides a great overview of the many potential health benefits of coffee, with a link to a study for each.

Of course, the article also lists some of the potential downsides of drinking coffee. At best, drinking too much coffee can make you irritable. But some studies show that excess consumption can also lead to some more serious conditions.

Like with all good things, moderation is key. It’s usually pretty obvious at which point you should stop drinking coffee. So know your limits!

Raise Your Cup to National Coffee Day!

So whether you’re taking your team for coffee, introducing the principles of café culture to the workplace, or simply savoring your morning coffee with renewed appreciation, we hope you make the best of National Coffee Day.

Coffee isn’t the crucial secret to a productive workplace driven by healthy and happy employees. But in more ways than one, it can be the fuel that drives your employee wellbeing program.

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Harry Customer Success Manager at edays
September 23, 2019

Harry is Head of Customer Success here at edays, helping organisations to get the very best out of their edays system. His experience in SaaS and HR brings valuable insight into how organisations can better manage their people, processes and productivity.