Coffee has become increasingly important to me as I’ve got older. Y’know I’ve started to realise that I really like coffee. I’m no expert on coffee roasting and I usually go for a fairly medium flavour (Clipper Organic Arabica is my coffee of choice, primarily because it’s a fairly middle-of-the road taste but also because it is Fairtrade – something I feel strongly about).
However for me coffee isn’t about the drink but what the drink means. It is the chance to have a quick break, a relax, some time away from what ever I’m doing. This is of utmost importance now that I have 3 children, sometimes looking forward to a coffee is the only thing that gets me through the day! I enjoy coffee alone and also with friends, it’s a great way to get things out of my system and allow tensions to drift away. I also drink a reasonable amount of coffee while working (usually decaf if I can) and now and then drink it away from my PC!
Yesterday I read a post on the library Scribbles blog entitled What price a cup of tea? Apparently in line with the European Work directive Canterbury Christ Church University Library has issued an instruction by memo stating that staff should no longer take tea/coffee breaks unless they are happy to make the time up.
As Andy Ekins, the author of the blog explains:
Nothing much has changed. Staff are still having a break, their working pattern hasn’t altered a great deal, and the amount of work they are doing during the day is unchanged. What has changed is their attitude toward the job. Some staff now feel that they need to work to rule rather than be trusted to manage their own time. Some staff (me included) regularly work extra hours, or work at home in the evenings. Some staff give up mornings, evenings, or weekends to come in outside their normal hours of work. I have done this on many occasions during my six years here and never once have taken TOIL or been paid overtime. This recent development has left some staff wondering if they should be committing so much of their own time to work issues when their employer is so strict with the working day.
Taking a break is so important. I’ve talked about it a fair amount on this blog, especially in my early days as a remote worker, because breaks are one of the first things that slip when you are working from home.
I need to make myself have regular breaks because they keep me fresh, motivated and working effectively.
Staff also need to feel that their employer actually cares that they are happy in their job.
Back in February 2009 I wrote that staff remain an employer’s most valuable asset and how the recession was causing employers to forget this.
We are all still fighting for jobs but I do believe it is the organisations that treat their staff with respect who will come out fighting and with their head held high. A cup of tea or coffee is worth its weight in gold if it keeps your workforce working for you, rather than in spite of you.
Andy concludes his post by asking:
So what price have the Senior Management Paid for their cup of tea?
Potentially I think one of the highest prices they could have paid: the morale, support, and dedication of their staff.
Someone in their management team may well be kicking themselves that they didn’t take a little more time-out before they distributed their memo. Maybe a cup of tea or coffee would have cleared their head?