If you don’t believe in magic, it must be that you haven’t tried coffee yet. This magical potion can give you an instant energy boost, increase your productivity, and motivate you to work harder and longer than ever before. The magical part is that it does this when you’re feeling at your lowest, sleepiest, and most demotivated.
Aside from being great for starting a conversation and spending time with friends, coffee is a powerful tool to have in the office. One of its main benefits is boosting productivity. The question is, is this a placebo effect, or does coffee make you more productive? Empirical evidence is enough to show us that coffee does have a positive effect on productivity, but it would be nothing without research to back it up.
1. How the magic happens
We all know that coffee works, but what’s the secret behind this magic trick? You no longer have to try to decipher scientific research, as David DiSalvo explains it plain and simple. Our neurons produce adenosine throughout the day and the more they produce, the more the activity of your nervous system decreases. This keeps happening until a certain point is reached when your body tells you it’s time to go to bed.
Caffeine has been proven to block adenosine, as it enters the receptor but doesn’t activate it. So basically, caffeine isn’t the thing waking you up- it’s the thing preventing adenosine from putting you to sleep. Thanks to this effect, your neurons are more alive than ever and you get to experience the full awesomeness of your brain.
This doesn’t counter the fact that caffeine tolerance exists. As you start drinking coffee more often, you’ll gradually need more to achieve the same effects. Coffee withdrawal is also real. Anyone who’s skipped their usual cup of the day can expect a splintering headache pretty soon.
Now that you’re aware of the science behind the concept, we can conclude that drinking coffee in the evening is a terrible idea. Because it blocks the hormone that makes you sleep, coffee can mess up your sleeping schedule pretty badly if you let it. Of course, this is a general rule of thumb. How likely you are to be affected and the degree of the effects depends greatly on who you are as a person. Just keep in mind that you need your sleep as well as the coffee if you aim at being productive the following day, too.
2. Tell it to me straight, doc: is productivity affected?
This question has been asked and answered many times, but the simple explanation is that: yes, it does. There have been studies that studied the effects of coffee, and it has been concluded that small doses can be very effective for one’s productivity. As well as that, motor and cognitive performance are improved, as is short-term memory.
Coffee affects productivity the same way it affects your brain. It doesn’t stimulate productivity directly, but it opens up all of the areas of the brain that need to work together to make you more productive. When you tap into the powers of your awake brain, any task will seem like an easy one and will be completed quickly.
Those who drink more cups of coffee a day and have been enjoying the effects of caffeine for a while will be sad to know that coffee probably won’t do much for their productivity anymore. In this case, it’s more likely that the connection between coffee and productivity is mental instead of physical. You associate being productive with drinking coffee, so you’re productive when you drink it- which isn’t a bad thing to happen.
3. To drink or not to drink?
That’s not even a question! If you’re not a coffee drinker, even very small doses will give you all the benefits of caffeine you were hoping to get. As well as that, when you first start drinking coffee is when you’ll notice the effects most clearly. You’ll be able to feel the coffee working its magic in your brain and you’ll notice how much more efficient you’ve become almost instantly.
You can start by drinking one cup a day. Also, choose coffee types that contain less caffeine. Lattes, Cappuccinos and anything with cream and milk work wonderfully, as does instant coffee. You can’t avoid the tolerance build-up, but you can at least slow it down.
On top of that, drinking a strong cup of coffee when you’re not used it will probably just amp up your anxiety and heart-rate instead of making you more productive. The jitters are a very uncomfortable side effect of too much coffee, so it’s best to avoid them altogether. Even those who drink coffee regularly can experience them, as well as heart issues and an upset tummy.
How much coffee you need depends on more than just how often you drink it, though. Your body type, age, weight, the time of day, and the quality of your sleep are all factors you need to take into consideration.
4. Don’t talk to me before I’ve had my coffee
There’s a reason coffee is not the ideal drink for starting your day and it’s not because people use it as an excuse to skip breakfast. Our cortisol levels make us feel awake and alert and the levels of this hormone vary throughout the day. The highest levels of cortisol are produced between 8 and 9 am. This means that your body is naturally caffeinated at this time so it’s not necessary to drink coffee when your cortisol is at its natural peak. This can only make your energy levels lower.
In other words, you won’t be getting the productivity you so desire. On top of that, drinking coffee when your body doesn’t need it will only increase your tolerance and you’ll need more caffeine to feel the same effects. When your tolerance is higher, your cortisol levels are heightened and your circadian rhythm can be disrupted.
The best time to have coffee is between 9:30 and 11:30 am. According to Iwata, you can still enjoy your morning coffee but only a bit later than you anticipated. This is when your cortisol levels start to go down, so it’s important to sustain your energy.
5. Bringing the world together
Coffee is a social drink for a reason. Because it wakes us up and gets our brains going, it’s much easier to hold interesting conversations with people around you. This is why coffee is the perfect drink for almost any social situation: first dates, offices, going out with friends, seeing your parents on the weekends. Even though the relationships you build with different people vary, you’ll find common ground with every one of them thanks to coffee.
This is especially valuable for offices where people are expected to collaborate. In truth, it’s good for any office because it’s simply more comfortable to work in a friendly environment where you know people. Not only will employees who work without taking breaks and talking to other human beings be lonelier and have lower job satisfaction, but they’ll also be less productive.
Science has proven that these types of employees gradually start working at lower speeds and that they’re more prone to mistakes. Taking a break and talking to a coworker gives the brain time to catch its breath and helps avoid burnout and brain strain.
As well as that, casual interactions over coffee on breaks build relationships between employees, help them be more comfortable with each other, and show a caring office culture anyone would like to be a part of. It’s going to be much easier to get your team to collaborate and come up with interesting solutions to any office problems, as well as to nail every new project.
6. Love what you do, do what you love
Whether you drink coffee at home or work, just knowing that you have the option to drink free coffee every day can make you smile. The higher the quality of the coffee available to you, the better you’ll feel about your day. This is why employers should seriously consider getting quality options for their employees. Almost everyone today drinks coffee, and you won’t make a mistake if you include free coffee as a listed benefit for your office. Include some healthy snacks as well and you’ll notice employees are visibly happier with their jobs.
The reason most offices don’t splurge on a coffee machine or at least a coffee pot is due to the costs. Employers may even be open to adding a perk like this to the office, but give up as soon as they see how big of an investment they’ll have to make.
However, employers should keep in mind that coffee in the office is an investment that pays off in the long run. What’s better than having a lively office full of professionals who can’t wait to get back to work and meet all of their deadlines?
A survey was conducted and it showed that free coffee is one of the top sought-after perks for employee satisfaction level. Respondents went as far as to say that the availability of free coffee at the office changed the way they valued and evaluate the company they work for. Let’s not forget the obvious, higher job satisfaction leads to more productivity.
7. All systems on high alert
Its evident coffee makes you more alert along with raising your energy levels. This is the most evident in an environment where a lot of people spend their time and where they’re supposed to be productive for the entire day. In other words, it’s most evident in the office. Employees are often stressed and slow in the mornings, especially if they start their shifts rather early.
Research has found that coffee, indeed, wakes you up. There was a separate study that proved coffee makes you more alert. This makes it easier to focus on work and have a wonderfully productive day. If you’re skeptical, you can rent a coffee machine for your office and test the theory out for yourself. If it proves a success, nothing is stopping you from giving your employees a permanent high-quality cup of coffee every morning that they show up for work.
In some cases, merely having a coffee machine at the office did wonders to improve employee morale and motivation. This is because employees felt like they had something to look forward to on their breaks and because they knew they won’t be starting the day sluggish and cranky if they didn’t get to have their morning cup of coffee at home.
8. Ninja-like reflexes
Improving memory and reaction time are just two other benefits of coffee. Because coffee betters your cognitive function, performance is increased. This is especially noticeable in tasks that require a lot of brainpower and concentration. For example, long meetings can often make us feel bored and sleepy. The environment seems just perfect for taking a nap: the soft hum of the projector, the monotone droning of the speaker, and the dimmed lights can put your right out.
This is why meetings that have catering in the room are always a bigger success. Food helps get us back on our feet, but coffee is the real star of the show. Research has shown that employees who have coffee during meetings are more attentive and retain a lot more important information from the meeting, regardless of how boring it is.
As you can see, coffee truly is magical. There’s no better way to start your day and motivate your employees than to give yourself and them the caffeine boost you both need. It’s not just empirical evidence telling us how awesome coffee is- there’s a science to back it up. Hopefully, you’ll now be able to reap the full benefits of coffee and enjoy every moment more. We’re confident it will do even more wonders for your productivity now that you know what happens in your brain to make coffee so irresistible.