Fresh Coffee Is Its Own Reward

by Bob Nelson ©

In today's challenging times, business owners and managers need effective ways to improve morale in the workplace and help keep staff motivated, especially when employees are being asked to do more with less. I conducted a recent national survey on environmental perks with Keurig, Incorporated (, a leader in single-serve brewing systems. The survey* found that small perks can have a major impact in boosting employee morale. According to our survey, three out of five employed workers feel more motivated to do their best work when provided with "environmental" perks in the office like bottled water, free soft drinks and fresh quality coffee. Nearly half of those surveyed said small perks make them feel more valued.

Simple perks can go a long way in attracting, motivating and retaining needed talent. I feel it's important for business managers to find ways to recognize and reward their staff, even when (or especially when), times are tight. Some employee perks don't require any cost at all, such as flexible working hours, casual dress days or a chance to interact with upper management. Others, such as a spontaneous celebrations (balloons, confetti, party hats, etc) or celebration pizza have only a nominal cost, yet can greatly help to boost employee morale. Fresh, free coffee is another commonly overlooked office perk that has a very high perceived value to employees; helping them both save time and money. According to findings of our national survey:

  • 80 percent of employees surveyed feel more motivated to do their best work when provided with simple perks like fresh, free gourmet coffee and tea
  • 60 percent of employees surveyed reported they are looking to cut back their spending on coffee and tea outside the office in 2010, which averages $440 and 38 hours/year per employee
  • 37 percent of employees surveyed would prefer free, daily fresh gourmet coffee or tea over a company's annual holiday party

The next best thing to giving employees a bonus or merit increase, is helping them to save money in their daily routine. At $440/year and time savings of almost a full work week, providing fresh coffee at work jumps from being a "nice to offer" benefit to a "need to offer benefit." In the case of Keurig's single cup brewing technology the additional benefit of a significant choice (250 varieties, 13 brands) and the no-mess, no-hassle clean up, makes it a favorite in most offices. Fresh coffee: a simple perk for a challenging time!


* The survey was developed by Keurig, Incorporated and Bob Nelson, Ph.D. and conducted by Opinion Research Corporation in Princeton, NJ. Bob Nelson, Ph.D. is a paid consultant of Keurig, Incorporated. Opinion Research surveyed by telephone 958 adults employed full, part time, or self employed. Interviews were weighted by four variables including age, sex, geographic region, and race to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the total adult population. Interviews were conducted on Jan. 7-11, 2010. Such a sample has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.2%. —Bob Nelson, PhD