2022 was the year that discussion of the much-reported talent shortage reached fever pitch. As many as 75% of global businesses reported difficulties filling key roles in the prior year according to Manpower Group , and UK businesses are not exempt from this trend; vacancies in Britain reached a record high of 1.3million in June .
In an increasingly competitive hiring market, company culture and benefits matter more than ever to quality candidates. Start-ups particularly rely on attractive non-financial perks to sweeten the deal for talent, as they often do not have the funds to pay competitively in the early stages of their growth journey. In a market where even the small details matter, a team coffee subscription is a valuable culture benefit that businesses can use to attract and retain talent.
What is a team coffee subscription?
Team coffee subscriptions, also known as multi-person coffee subscriptions, enable a business’ staff to benefit from a set number of drinks per day at a select café or hospitality business, as well as access to exclusive promotions and other discounts.
Businesses will select an admin to register a multi-person subscription with a preferred local café via its 5Loyalty-built application. Then, that admin will invite teammates to register with their email to use the business’ coffee subscription. Businesses are free to select as many or few teammates they want on the subscription. Cafés themselves choose how the subscription’s pricing increases per teammate.
Café culture is a central perk
It’s no secret that the UK’s productivity is partly powered by coffee; the British Coffee Association estimates that Brits drink 98 million cups every day. Brits enjoy coffee at home and on-the-go, with 81% of coffee drinkers visiting cafés weekly and 16% visiting their favourite coffee shop every day.
Café culture is increasingly integral to British society. Many Brits consider cafés as a home away from home; places to relax and restore free from the stresses of real life. Professor Jonathan Morris, coffee historian at the University of Hertfordshire, describes a ‘cultural revolution’ that propelled the UK’s passion for cafés from the 1990s to today. Morris attributes the rise in cafés to popular programmes like Friends and Seinfeld that centred the experience, concurrent to a rise in daytime socialising and the arrival of laptops facilitating remote work . Statistics support Morris’ theories about café culture: the number of coffee shops in the UK nearly doubled from 13,034 in 2010 to 25,892 in 2020.
Cafés serve diverse functions for their users but always have a positive connotation among the coffee-passionate. Coffee drinkers happily visit cafés to relax, socialise and hold business meetings. In fact, founder of United Baristas Tim Ridley told The Grocer in 2020 that he attributes work culture itself as part of café culture’s ascendance: “Coffee shops actually exploded after the financial downturn… A lot of companies downsized their office space and lost meeting rooms, so it became more acceptable to leave the office during the day for a meeting in a coffee shop.”
How coffee culture can support staff retention
Employees clearly appreciate when businesses invest in their wellbeing: as many as 87% of employees report that small perks are critical to staff-retention . Providing hot drinks like tea and coffee can help employees feel valued and powers everyday motivation as a result.
Team coffee subscriptions are particularly useful to support relationship building within teams; 81% of employees report coffee breaks help them to strengthen bonds with their colleagues . Providing access to a meeting space off-site is necessary for businesses that have small offices but rely on meetings to conduct activities. This provision can prevent staff disillusionment amongst those who need to hold meetings for their role to be successful, but cannot hold them in-office.
A 2017 survey of c.2800 employees by Nespresso uncovered just how important employees considered coffee :
• 27% report that access to high-quality coffee improves their work life greatly
• 75% agree that employers making high quality coffee available of proves their employer cares about their wellbeing
• c.78% agree that providing good quality coffee to clients is important
• 90% who drink high-quality coffee at work feel motivated to do their best
• 81% who regularly drink high-quality coffee at work intend to be at their current company in two years’ time.
Providing access to good quality coffee for free is clearly a valuable culture ‘weapon in the arsenal’ for employers hoping to improve staff retention.
How coffee can support productivity
Everyone knows that coffee supports productivity by enhancing energy and decreasing tiredness. Coffee is a known stimulant that combats sleepiness by supressing the drowsiness neurotransmitter adenosine, and instead fires up the energy-inspiring dopamine .
Aside from coffee’s obvious effects in helping us overcome the 2pm slump, coffee provides further benefits for productivity, because:
• Coffee helps reduce the daily aches and pains associated with seated computer work and is effective at reducing tension in the shoulders, neck, forearms and wrist
• Coffee is an effective tool to strengthen social bonds at work and, as a result, increase team productivity
• Caffeinated drinks have been proven to reduce errors in shift workers who drank it compared with those who did not.
Working inside coffee shops also has productivity benefits. A study in the Journal of Consumer research found that the ambient noise present in coffee shops is conducive to productive creative work . Providing your team with a coffee subscription can support them to overcome creative slumps in a new environment.
A team coffee subscription provides numerous benefits for employees that supports talent retention. Employees themselves consider access to high-quality coffee an important aspect of their daily wellbeing at work, likely because of how important café culture is in society.
A coffee shop subscription provides staff with an opportunity to take breaks that strengthen productivity and fuel team bonding. In addition, choosing a café coffee subscription gives staff access to an additional space to work and conduct meetings other than the office. Having an alternate meeting space can facilitate deal flow and provide a relaxing environment in which they can overcome slumps in productivity.