The humble cup of coffee. A bit like the water cooler, coffee is sometimes seen as just an excuse to get away from the desk. How many hours of productivity are lost every day waiting for the kettle to boil? Yes, getting a coffee can be an excuse for 5 minutes downtime. But it can also play an important role in building relationships with colleagues and improving happiness at work.
Today, 1st October, is International Coffee Day, a global celebration of coffee’s journey from the farm to your local shop – and ultimately your cup.
This year’s theme highlights the role of Women in Coffee and the need for equality in the coffee industry. Women play as important a role in the whole of the coffee supply chain as men, from planting the seeds to processing to trading to brewing.
At iOpener, we also recognize the contribution coffee can make to happiness at work. We know from our research with 54,000 respondents across the globe that one of the key components of happiness at work is Culture and your feeling of fit.
Liking your colleagues and building productive relationships with them is vital. Those relationships won’t always be totally work-based. Even chatting about the ending to The Bodyguard over a cup of coffee can encourage a sense of belonging to the team.
Building relationships at work also impact your sense of Contribution. Being listened to and being able to raise issues is vital, but sometimes workplace environments can limit communication. Going into a meeting room can feel too formal and chatting over a desk too open. As a manager, how many times have you said: ‘Let’s grab a coffee’ as a way of saying ‘Let’s talk about this is a more informal environment, which will encourage us to be more open, honest and productive.’
Trust is also a vital context for happiness at work
Trust is fundamental to performance and happiness at work. We define trust as “the willingness to take a risk in the expectation that something good will be reciprocated”. Without trust, communication breaks down and productivity drops. Things take longer to happen and may even grind to a halt. Yet the simple act of sharing a cup of coffee (tea, or any other beverage) starts to build communication. And communication is the bedrock of trust.
Historically, it was the golf course where ‘business was done’. There, people opened up and shared information in a more relaxed environment, away from the office. Perhaps the kitchen or the coffee area is the ‘golf course’ of today, where we are encouraged to share information and build trust in each other and in our organization.
So, apart from taking a few minutes to share a coffee with someone in your organization, here are 5 tips to help increase trust in your team today:
- Trust is built in the moment and the result of the choices we make or don’t make.
- As a leader, the biggest way you can build trust is through the allocation of resources, be that time, money, equipment, opportunity etc.
- Fair play builds trust more than anything.
- Trust gives the benefit of the doubt rather than jumping to conclusions about others motives and intentions.
- Trust starts with yourself. If you trust yourself, others will trust you too.