The company water cooler was invented in 1906 to prevent the spread of waterborne illnesses such as typhoid fever. Since then, complementary workplace beverages have come a long way. Today, hip startups and corporations such as Amazon, eBay, Facebook, and Twitter supply their employees with a medley of drinks on tap. Keep reading to find out why drink perks may help your business stay competitive and improve productivity. Then find out which drinks to offer on tap at the office.
The Power of Free Drinks
Cold-brew coffee and kombucha may not lure top talent from your competitors, but it won’t hurt. The job market is tight, and skilled employees are in demand. Last year, U.S. workers ditched their jobs to find better ones at the highest rate since 2001.
When it comes to work perks, free food and drinks are relatively inexpensive. And nearly all (87%) of respondents in a survey said non-traditional perks were important when they were evaluating a new job. Today, free food and drinks are commonplace in some industries. Even small- and mid-sized companies stock their kitchens with free snacks and drinks as a way to attract employees and keep them happy.
Offering your staff free drinks may do more than make them happy; it may increase productivity, too. More than one quarter (27%) of employees don’t take breaks except for lunch. But breaks are important. They give the brain a chance to rest and work through problems. Breaks also give workers a chance to socialize, which can be good for the bottom line.
The workplace consulting firm Humanyze uses data to help companies increase productivity. They discovered that the most productive call-center employees at Bank of America had lunch breaks that allowed them to socialize with other employees. When the bank changed the schedules so all call-center workers could socialize at lunch, productivity improved by 23%.
Why does socializing make such a difference? Employees who have friends at work are less stressed out and more likely to love their company and stay at their job. Ben Waber, the C.E.O and president of Humanyze, says a well-designed beverage area can boost productivity for the same reason. Humanyze helped a pharmaceutical company create a large gathering area for its employees and improve the quality of its coffee. As a result, performance improved.
What to Offer on Tap
Are you ready to enhance your employees’ breaks and offer drinks on tap? When it comes to stocking your corporate beverage bar, you have a lot of options. For starters, your employees will probably appreciate at least a few healthier beverages. In a survey, 83% of participants said having healthy and fresh snack options provided in the workplace was a big perk. Here are some of the most popular beverages to offer on tap at the office.
If you’re looking for a beloved beverage, you can’t beat coffee. More than 75% of Americans drink it on any given day. Cold-brew coffee provides a few benefits compared to the hot-brewed version, and not just because it cools you off on a sweltering day. Coffee brewed with cold water contains more caffeine than traditional coffee, and it’s lower in acid and less bitter than drip-brewed coffee.
Nitro coffee, which is cold brew infused with nitrogen, is a hot new coffee trend. Nitro coffee is smooth, has a frothy head, and looks like a pint of Guinness. It has a creamy mouthfeel that some people enjoy, and it can be served hot or cold. Plus, as a bonus, most people drink nitro coffee sans cream and sugar so it could help your employees avoid a sugar crash.
Americans aren’t as obsessed with tea as people in other parts of the world, but 159 million U.S. residents still drink it on any given day. And most of us like it cold. The majority (75 to 80%) of tea in the U.S. is consumed over ice.
Cold brewing tea has similar benefits to cold brewing coffee. Because cold water draws fewer tannins into the tea, it’s not as rich in antioxidants as hot-brewed tea. But it has a smoother and sweeter taste, which could inspire your employees to skip the sugar packets. If you infuse cold-brew tea with nitrogen, it has a velvety mouthfeel that some people really enjoy.
A beverage teeming with bacteria may sound like a strange addition to your corporate beverage bar, but kombucha’s popularity has soared in the past two decades. This fizzy, slightly sour, fermented tea contains antioxidants and probiotics. Many people claim it aids digestion, detoxifies the body, and boosts energy. A couple of caveats: Some varieties contain a lot of calories and sugar and kombucha contains a small amount of alcohol (which is only a drawback if you’re looking to steer clear of boozy options on tap). Bottom line? Kombucha will be a hit with many of your employees, and it’s definitely healthier than soda.
Bubbly water is big right now. Sales jumped 22 percent last year. What’s not to love about a beverage with the effervescence of soda but without any calories, sugar, or caffeine? Plus, a little sparkle may be just the thing to encourage your employees to drink more water, which is the ultimate healthy beverage.
Whether you offer crisp cold orange juice or organic green juice, many of your employees will celebrate. Juice made from 100% fruit and vegetables is a great source of nutrients, including vitamin C, potassium, and minerals. Plus, juices made from antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables—such as pomegranates, beets, red grapes, and blueberries—can benefit everything from heart health to skin health.
Craft beer or wine
Drinking at work went out of fashion for a while after the Mad Men era, but it’s back. Tech companies are known for having various brews on tap at any given time, and office happy hour is a normal part of work life at many companies. Few beverages reduce stress and encourage socializing and team building as well as a good IPA or Merlot. And an occasional drink or two could even encourage problem-solving and boost creativity. Check your insurance policies to make sure your coverage allows you to serve drinks in the workplace and consult your attorney to review any liability concerns and be sure to establish a corporate alcohol policy so everyone knows the rules.
Draft cocktails are the next best thing to an on-site mixologist. When done well, they can be as vibrant and complex as handmade beverages, and they may be a great addition to your next corporate event. While not all cocktails work well on tap, Manhattans, margaritas, martinis, and several other popular cocktails can taste great on draft. Just be sure to check out the potential risks of offering beer and wine, which also apply to cocktails.
Once upon a time, a drip coffee maker in the staff lounge may have qualified as a generous work perk. But today many businesses offer their employees a rotating selection of drinks on tap. Offering your employees free beverages brings benefits beyond hydration; It may make your company more attractive to prospective hires and improve productivity.