The connection between refreshments and productivity is arguably undervalued. The fact is having access to refreshments makes us more alert, more creative and generally happier, which is why they’re particularly important in the workplace.
Express Refreshments introduced the first UK Micro Market in 2013 so we understand the importance of workplace refreshments for wellbeing and productivity. Here we dive into the science which uncovers some very interesting facts.
First of all, remember productivity isn’t everything.
Despite common belief, making sure your workforce are productive doesn’t carry as much weight as you would have perhaps expected. Sure, if your team are productive then they are more likely to work harder and better for your company, but that doesn’t necessarily indicate they are happy whilst doing so.
This is where morale comes in. An employee’s morale at work has a dramatic impact on their overall satisfaction. It is important to balance your focus between workplace morale and productivity as it is harder for your team to be productive if they are not happy in their work.
Improving morale is directly linked to an upturn in productivity and will go a long way to attracting and retaining key talent.
Let’s now explore how workplace refreshments can help you deliver a happy and creative team, starting with what is perceived as the most important meal of the day.
The importance of breakfast.
How true is the well-known saying “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”? The science certainly suggests so. In fact, deciding whether to enjoy or skip breakfast can make or break your day without even knowing so.
In truth, it shouldn’t really need the experts to prove that fuelling our bodies when we first, or not long later, wake up will make us feel more alert and ready for our day. By providing energy, breakfast can boost concentration and memory and skipping it gets our day off to the worst possible start.
However, a look into the science shows a report from Fast Company’s Michael Grothaus. He conducted his own experiment into breakfast consumption after going without for years and found there was a noticeable improvement into how alert he was.
Not everyone fancies something to eat first thing in the morning but grabbing something nutritious and fulfilling before you start work will certainly benefit you.
The right amount of coffee is a must for employees.
It seems employees of all industries simply cannot do without their coffee, but why is that? Is it genuinely true, or is it largely psychological that we start to feel more awake and alert after a coffee?
Well coffee certainly lifts our overall mood and happiness, but apart from a mental boost there is nothing psychological surrounding the connection between caffeine and creativity. Florian Koppelstatter from a medical university in Austria confirmed coffee does make us more productive, due to a chemical in our brains known as adenosine.
Through its normal function, adenosine is what makes us feel sleepy. The natural and well-known effects of caffeine simply block this receptor, which in turn helps us feel more awake. And it goes without saying that an employee who doesn’t feel drained is going to perform better in their role.
That’s why coffee is an important part of the working day. There is even greater demand for higher-quality coffee now, too, such is the coffee culture the UK has developed.
Snacking (healthily) throughout the working day is beneficial.
It’s natural to feel a little drained or down throughout the day, but there are things you can try as an alternative or in addition to heading to your coffee machine.
As we detailed before, food is a source of energy that we cannot do without, so a natural remedy for getting yourself into a bit of a rut across the day is to snack. Nutrition plays a key role in how our brains work and although there is nothing wrong with treating yourself with a chocolate bar or packet of crisps every now and again, products such as fruit and low fat/sugar bars work well.
Research into this topic shows that a poor diet could be linked with mental health issues including anxiety and depression. Vitamins E and C are natural antioxidants and can improve immunity, whilst Vitamin D is linked to an upturn in mood.
Fibre and Vitamin B12 are also good to consume, but it is carbs and fats that, whilst making us feel full and content in the short term, make us more likely to overeat and avoid the healthier stuff. Providing your staff with refreshments is important, but make sure you choose your selection wisely.
Simple yet effective refreshment breaks.
With the working day getting busier for us all, finding the time to take an actual break can be tricky. Does it matter if you grab a drink or a bite to eat to take back to your desk, or should you make more of an effort to wind down?
The science would suggest the latter. Lots of refreshment facilities are geared towards grab-and-go simply because this is where the demand is coming from, but by implementing a breakout area and encouraging them to use it you’ll be benefitting your team more than you could ever realise.
It is a debunked myth that breaktimes lessen productivity. In the short term that may be true, but long-term breaks help to keep us creative and motivated. The University of British Colombia found that we are more likely to come up with problem solving ideas when our mind is in a daydream state, or in other words when we aren’t directly consumed by the task.
They also found that getting up and engaging with colleagues makes us 38% more productive when we get back to our desk, not to mention the advantages it will bring for relationships.
Can the Micro Market help with workplace wellbeing?
The Micro Market is your very own self-service refreshment hub that we design, create and manage for your workplace.
It offers fresh food, healthier snacks, treats and cold drinks in an unmanned design that’s open and available 24 hours a day, with a barista style coffee machine optional. The Micro Market often appeals to larger sites, where high usage could turn into the most cost-effective solution available.
It is centred around workplace wellbeing, with such a modern refreshment facility doing wonders for happiness at work. As we have established, this can then aid creativity and productivity.