exploring possibilities for an engaging and productive workplace

Typically I've kept an electric kettle at work, which I can use to quickly boil water for tea. I like to share the kettle with office-mates and guests. The tea seems to facilitate office chit-chat, smiles, and laughter. All great sources of office creativity and productivity.

BBC's Tom de Castella wrote about tea and productivity at work in his recent article, Is a Tea Break at Work Good for Productivity? He starts off saying the average British employee spends 24 minutes a day getting tea and coffee. Extrapolate this out to the whole British population and you have a serious loss in man hours worked. The article goes on to quote several researchers and academics who argue the benefits of breaks, caffeine, and more despite the lost work time.

Brits aren't the only ones eager to converse, take breaks, and enjoy a warm drink at work. Yesterday's Marketplace (NPR) featured a story, The Value of Being Happy at Work. Kye Ryssdal talks with Michael Lynton and Amy Pascal of Sony Pictures. He introduces them by saying he "...was intrigued by a successful company that has put 5,000 employees through a program that sounded a little touchy-feely."

The interview reveals that Pascal and Lynton have developed programs aimed at building community. One example, Sony used to have an executive dining hall and less appealing dining options for regular staff. They put a stop to this, built a commissary and started subsidizing healthy meals for everyone. 

They go on to talk more about what makes Sony employees happy at work. They even discuss paid TV breaks as a form of engagement. When it comes to results, Pascal says, "... we've seen are the different divisions of the company working together in a way that they never had before, us being able to get, wring more money out of all the things we do. Because people are working together, everybody works hard to do the same thing."

I wonder if Sony provides easy access to tea and coffee too?

1 response to "Food and Drink at Work"

  1. While I am encouraged to hear people talking about happiness in the work place, it amazes me that we have to engineer it. The causes of this emanate from what I have so much difficulty with around our cultures commonly held concept of work. If people are responsible and enthusiastic about their work these top down efficiency drives would seem to be counterproductive.

    Many people spend more time at work than doing anything else. If your not enjoying the majority of your life, what's the point?


Leave a Reply