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Employee Survey Reveals What We'd Give Up To Keep Our Coffee

Do you like your morning coffee? Of course, you do! And why stop there? It's always 2 p.m. somewhere, which means it's time for your afternoon double shot hazelnut latte!

With National Coffee Day brewing on September 29, Staples Business Advantage and Survey Monkey have released a new survey that filters some interesting findings on employee coffee drinking habits.

The main finding? Nearly one-third of employees said they would rather streak naked through the main street of their town than give up coffee for a year. Now that's some coffee-drinking dedication! Cue the coffee music.


Meanwhile, more than half of employees surveyed would rather give up sweets than coffee (for the rest of their lives!) if they had to choose one to lose. One-quarter would relinquish their smartphones forever to keep drinking coffee, and nearly one-quarter (24%) would give up their annual vacation in order to keep their coffee.

The average employee drinks two cups of coffee per day, and more than one-third (35%) need at least one cup to feel "productive or alert during the day." What happens when employees don't get their coffee? The top-three things they can't handle without a cup of coffee are "thinking, talking to anyone and commuting to work." Well, yeah. I think that pretty much covers all the bases.

So we still need our coffee to power through the work day, but how can we be better coffee drinking cohorts around the office? Ah, that's where things always get interesting. Let's pour it on with these seven tips for better office coffee citizenry so our co-workers don't make us talk to the hand:

1. Clean up your coffee messes. From torn sugar packets strewn around work stations to dried coffee rings on conference room tables to the half-filled Starbuck's cup left by the copier, many of us are not being very good coffee citizens at work. Nobody wants to deal with the cup of curdled latte (the one with the lipstick-smudged lid) that's been sitting on a shelf in the supply closet since last week. In this case, we do worry about spilled milk. Come on, guys: Clean up your coffee messes. It's not that hard!

2. Stop complaining about your coffee. Nobody in the office wants your daily coffee status update. Sure, your afternoon double half-caf hazelnut vanilla latte isn't quite right somehow and you're bummed about it, but your co-workers don't want to hear your complaints. If it's that bad, then either keep it to yourself or dump it out. Besides, your colleagues are having their own second thoughts about pouring a cup of house decaf from the break room coffee maker.

3. Don't blame your work mistakes on a lack of caffeine. "Obviously, I need more coffee this morning," you chuckle to your teammates after realizing you've made a paperwork mistake that's having major ripple effects. We coffee drinkers say it so often that the phrase is losing its meaning, and joy. I still think it's funny, but some of your co-workers are probably getting tired of the joke -- especially if they haven't had their own coffee yet.

4. Stop asking non-coffee drinkers how they get by. As you take a sip of liquid gold, you turn to a co-worker and say: "I don't know how you survive without coffee; I'd never be able to do it." Well, the co-worker living life sans coffee is making it work somehow, so there's no need to harp on their caffeine-free state. Then again, if the water-drinking co-worker keeps sniffing: "I'm so glad I never got hooked on coffee," then feel free to say something. In a pinch, Google a few news stories that show how moderate coffee consumption is okay.

5. Use a coffee mug. Using paper coffee cups is unavoidable in a number of circumstances, but try to invest in a reusable mug you can store at the office. You'll be doing something nice for the environment, you might get a slight discount on your coffee drinks (yay!), and everyone at work will know exactly whose coffee mug sat in the conference room all weekend. So busted.

6. Realize the politics of the coffee run. "I'm going to get a cup of coffee, back in a few," you say as you head out the door. Be aware that the office clock watcher might be timing your coffee runs. This is Bill's third coffee run today! How much coffee does the guy drink?! One way to get more buy-in from these colleagues is to ask occasionally: "I'm going on a quick coffee run, would you like anything?" They'll probably say no, but it's thoughtful of you to ask and they might lighten up on all your restroom visits.

7. Re-evaluate your coffee habits occasionally. The shaky hands, the sweaty temple, the constant fidgeting. Oh, no! Our co-worker has had a little too much to drink this morning! As we age, drinking too much coffee might make us feel buzzed in a bad, I-feel-sort-of-icky kind of way. I'm seeing Gen Xers modify their caffeine consumption by incorporating more teas and light/decaf coffees into their daily routines. It's a calmer, gentler cup of coffee. This way, they still get their warm brews without the bad caffeine buzz.

Now go enjoy your coffee! Just remember to clean up your mess and please keep your coffee complaints to yourself.

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