The other day I was reading The Way I Work: Zulily’s Darrell Cavens in Inc Magazine and I smiled when I read this:
Six months into the business, we got one of those Starbucks coffee machines here in the office. If I had realized the morale boost that would come from having a free coffee machine in the office, I would have got it Day One. It’s almost more exciting than medical benefits. We have one on every floor now.
We have a similar story.
Our full-time staff are all coffee drinkers. Earlier this year I noticed how much effort they were putting into their morning coffee. They had to remember to brew it when they woke up or pick it up on the way in, they had reusable containers that they needed to bring back and forth as well as keep clean, and when they forgot to do one of those things they started the day off on the wrong foot. Aside from the caffeine boost, they missed the ritual, something I can attest to as a tea drinker. Sometimes they’d even take their lunch breaks super early to run out and get breakfast from a local diner because it came with a coffee.
We posed the idea to them of getting a Keurig coffee brewer. We tasked them with picking out the machine, the coffee, and any additional supplies they’d need. They have company credit cards and access to our Amazon account so we told them to pick out whatever they wanted so long as it was reasonable (no need for the highest end machine).
I wasn’t sure what the reaction would be, but it was kind of awesome. They spent a few days researching brewers and picking out variety packs of coffee that they’d all like. When it finally arrived, their morning and afternoon coffee brews became part of their routine. I often overhear them debating which flavors are best or what blends they want to try next. We (unintentionally) created a bonding experience. Since that time we’ve hired two part-time employees and we’ve noticed the full-timers bonding with the part-timers over their coffee.
It really is amazing. From a strictly business perspective, the ROI is a no brainer. The benefits in morale, bonding, energy, and consequently in overall productivity are worth every penny. Beyond that though, there’s a satisfaction that comes to doing small things that make such a positive impact on your employees work day.