Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

How the ‘Coffee Badging’ Trend Is Brewing Trouble for Hybrid Work Models

“Coffee badging” is the latest work trend attracting attention. The practice describes workers who go into the office long enough to drink a coffee so they can technically comply with their employer’s requirement to spend a certain number of days in the office. However, once they finish socializing with coworkers, employees leave the office to work from home.

Workers may not have the same unanimous motivations for coffee badging, but there are common themes in the data. According to the 2023 Survey of Working Arrangements and Attitudes from the organization WFH Research, almost six in 10 employees said “no commute” was the top benefit of working from home. The second most popular benefit was saving on gas and lunch costs, closely followed by flexibility over when work takes place and less time spent getting ready for work.

Employees who coffee badge may be following hybrid work protocols on the technicality that they are making an office appearance. However, there are troubling consequences of this latest trend.

Employees who stay in the office for an entire day’s work may feel upset by seeing their coworkers take advantage of hybrid work policies and lose respect from their staff if they cannot adequately enforce them. Coffee badging can also reduce the time teams spend on collaboration and undermine attempts to build a cohesive work culture.

Coffee badging is another obstacle in efforts to convince workers of the value of the office. Employers need to make in-person work meaningful for their teams if they want to successfully combat coffee badging. Three successful tactics to do so are addressing commutes, creating opportunities to socialize or collaborate and practicing open communication.

READ: Best Hybrid Work Strategies — Success in the Post-Pandemic Corporate World

Minimizing transportation costs

Data shows commuting and gas costs are a major reason why professionals like to work remotely. In the case of coffee badging, employees may not be saving money on gas, but they may be avoiding a nasty commute. There are several strategies employers can use to make commutes more bearable for their teams. 

Flex hours can allow employees to come into the office before or after rush hour. While it is important their flex hours overlap with other team members, a few hours of overlap is often enough for productive collaboration and innovation. Leadership can introduce policies encouraging employees to call into meetings from the car, so they maximize the value of their time. 

Commuter benefits can also increase overall attendance at the office and convince coworkers to stay longer. Parking reimbursement, pre-tax funding benefits, public transportation coverage and gas gift cards can encourage employees to return to the office.

Finally, be creative about ways to bring fun to commuting. Cultural initiatives like employee audio book clubs or a company podcast can also give workers something to do during their commute. 

READ: Adapting to the New Norm — Post-Pandemic Work Culture and the Future of Remote Work

Create opportunities to socialize and collaborate

Despite the coffee badging trend, workers do see value in the office. The 2023 Survey of Working Arrangements and Attitudes also found 62% of workers said socializing with co-workers was the top benefit of working from the office, while 54% chose face-to-face collaboration. The challenge for leaders is to ensure employees understand the value of these in-person interactions.

One first step is encouraging employees to socialize at work. While it is important for employees to prioritize their job duties, their productivity and focus can benefit from short breaks throughout the day. Personal connections between team members can also help them work together more effectively. Consider setting up a coffee station in the breakroom to encourage conversation or hosting happy hours after work at a nearby restaurant.

It is equally important to create space for employees to collaborate. Promoting open discussion, incorporating team-building activities, setting goals and expectations, encouraging personal bonds and offering learning and development (L&D) opportunities can all increase collaboration. When more employees see the benefits of the office as a space to socialize and collaborate, they will naturally want to spend more time at work of their own accord.

Focusing on open communication

Transparent and open communication is the final crucial element of addressing coffee badging. For employees who participate in coffee badging, the trend might seem like a harmless way to balance their work and life. They may not realize leadership might see coffee badging as an attempt to break the rules or a sign they lack interest in being a part of company culture. Overworked employees may see coffee badging as a way to ward off burnout, rather than approaching their manager to address the root of the problem.

Instead of “calling out” individual employees for coffee badging, it is important as a first step to openly address the trend with staff.

Begin by acknowledging leadership has noticed employees are only coming into the office for a brief portion of the day. Express empathy for employees who coffee badge, but be firm that the practice is not in the spirit of the company’s hybrid policy. Finally, explain why it is critical for employees to adhere to this policy and outline any initiatives to make coming into the office easier, such as flex hours or commuter benefits.

A general announcement can help most employees recognize the need to stop coffee badging, especially if they feel like leadership understands and hears their concerns about returning to the office. However, follow-ups may be necessary to enforce hybrid policies. Once management has directly addressed coffee badging with the entire team, it is then appropriate to follow up with employees who do not change their behavior. 

Coffee badging may be a frustrating trend for leaders who want their employees to see the value of working together in the same space. However, coffee badging reflects the challenges employees face when coming into the office, such as long commutes and burnout. By lightening the burden on employees and highlighting the positives of the office, leaders can reduce coffee badging and improve their organizational culture.

 

Niki JorgensenNiki Jorgensen is a Managing Director of Client Implementation with Insperity, a leading provider of human resources offering the most comprehensive suite of scalable HR solutions available in the marketplace. For more information about Insperity, call 800-465-3800 or visit www.insperity.com.  

The Power of Professionalism: Why Company Uniforms Matter

There are so many aspects of running a business, so many big calls to make and decisions to weigh up. Well, one of the decisions that any business owner might like to consider is whether or not to have company uniforms. 

Are uniforms needed? Can they have a positive or negative impact in the workplace? And what are some of the key factors to consider if you do decide to go ahead with company uniforms? This guide will aim to answer all of those key questions.

READ: How to Craft an Ideal Employee Experience Strategy — 6 Easy Steps

Importance of company uniforms in business

So, how much do uniforms really matter in the world of business? Well, more than you might think! A huge number of businesses elect to have their own company uniforms, and uniforms are mandatory in many industries, from hospitality to healthcare.

The history of workplace uniforms also goes back through the ages, with simple uniforms, badges and accessories first introduced many centuries ago to make it easier for workers to prove their legitimacy and authority.

Those same benefits are still valid today, and modern-day company uniforms can also offer a range of additional advantages. Here are just some of the benefits that business uniforms may provide:

Establishing an image of professionalism

First and foremost, a uniform is a symbol of professionalism. Picture yourself in a working environment, faced with two workers. One is wearing a professional uniform, bearing some sort of brand slogan, logo or color scheme and fitting in seamlessly with their colleagues. The other is wearing a simple everyday outfit of casual wear. Which seems more professional?

Naturally, we inherently tend to associate professionalism with the person in uniform. Just like in those bygone days, when badges were used to prove legitimacy, modern company uniforms are a visual symbol that a person can be trusted in their role.

READ: Unlocking Brand Loyalty — Enhancing Customer Experience in the Digital Age

Easy to identify staff

Another very simple but still significant benefit of wearing company uniforms is that it makes it easy to spot staff quickly and tell them apart from customers, clients or the general public. This may not always be relevant in all industries, but can be absolutely crucial in certain fields, like the worlds of retail, tourism, restaurants, and hospitality, for example.

Picture a typical retail store. A customer enters and wants to find a member of staff to ask them for a product recommendation. If every staff member simply wears casual clothes or their own outfits, the customer will quickly feel lost and confused. One of the big advantages of uniform branding is that customers can easily spot staff members and ask for help. 

Logo and color representation

Branding is more important than ever before, and many companies work hard to establish a clear identity or persona for their brand. This goes right down to the company logo and colors. From Amazon to McDonald’s, the one thing that the world’s most famous companies have in common is clear and successful visual branding, with logos and colors everyone knows.

Well, company uniforms have a part to play in all of that, too. Let’s say that a new retail store chain is trying to boost brand awareness, for example. The store has a black and green logo, and wants to spread it around. Well, adding that logo to some graphic tees for workers, and making their outfits black and green in color, is a very effective way to start.

READ: How to Utilize Color Psychology to Boost Your Digital Marketing Efforts

Improving customer trust and confidence

Ultimately, the main goals of any business are to inspire customer trust, get people to invest their time and money in your brand and choose your company over all the other options that are available. Once again, working uniforms can have a big part to play in that. 

We talked earlier about howcompany  uniforms can boost professionalism, and that doesn’t just apply to the individual in uniform. It applies to the whole business. When people see businesses where the workers are all dressed up neatly and in sync with one another, they tend to feel that those businesses are more professional and thereby more trustworthy than others.

Employee comfort and safety

Of course, when picking out company uniforms, it’s important to keep employee comfort and safety in mind. Here are a few key tips and factors to focus on:

Choosing appropriate fabrics and designs

It’s vital to choose fabrics and designs that are appropriate for your specific working environment. Restaurant workers, for instance, need outfits that allow them to move around comfortably and freely, while still being professional. Those working outdoors need outfits that can keep them warm and comfortable, even in bad weather.

Consideration for different roles

You also need to think about how outfits apply to different roles and responsibilities. Those in more junior-level positions could wear simpler and more casual outfits, while those in higher positions of responsibility may require more professional uniform choices.

Compliance with safety regulations

Finally, depending on the industry you’re operating in, you also need to make sure that whatever uniforms you use comply with all relevant safety rules. This is especially relevant for businesses that may be in fields with strict safety standards, like healthcare or food and drink.

 

Frank Derby is a Las Vegas-based PR and communications expert working with GoldenMFG. With a background in traditional marketing, Frank covers everything you need to know about offline promotions, PR, trade shows, and more. His passion now translates into articles where he shares his expertise, experience, and just random thoughts.

Building a Better Future: 4 Strategies for Corporate Social Responsibility in the Workplace

A corporate social responsibility (CSR) policy is only as effective as the employees who are responsible for executing it. This means that you need to build a workplace culture that values lean quality and social responsibility equally. 

As a business leader, you can build a better future by embracing motivational strategies that help employees embody your corporate social responsibility program. Even small changes, like recycling within the office, can make a big difference to your workplace culture.

READ: Unlocking the Power of DEI — Building Better Programs for Business and People

Implementing the ADA

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is designed to ensure that all workers have equal access to the tools they need to be successful. As a business leader, you can take proactive steps to make your workplace more accessible like: 

  • Instal ramps and handrails 
  • Buy visual fire alarms
  • Implement automatic doors 
  • Ensure signage is accessible to all 

Go above and beyond your ADA responsibilities by giving staff access to accessibility tech like screen readers, magnifying tools, closed caption or sign language translation and large print materials. This will show that you’re serious about inclusivity and will build a better corporate culture in your workplace.

As a business leader, you’re also responsible for ensuring that consumers and clients can navigate your workspace. Current ADA guidance asks all businesses to make “reasonable accommodations” to help companies better serve folks with disabilities. Start simple by removing physical barriers to exit and entry. Over time, you may need to make more thorough adjustments, like sign language interpreters. If you’re unsure of how to proceed, consider speaking to your clients to find out what they want from your business. 

READ: 6 Simple Ways to Encourage Employee Wellness — Key Strategies and Benefits

Carbon neutrality

As a business leader, you can help combat climate change by building a carbon-neutral company. This may take time, as businesses use a lot of energy, but the motivational boost will be well worth the effort. Start with simple steps like: 

  • Reduce emissions by hosting virtual conferences instead of physical ones
  • Rethink your supply chain and opt for low-impact vendors
  • Instal solar panels and switch to renewable energy sources
  • Offset any carbon that can’t be mitigated via reduction schemes

These changes may incur some short-term costs. However, climate-conscious staff want to work for businesses that take their commitment to climate change seriously. This means you’ll recoup your expenditures due to lower turnover and increased day-to-day productivity.  

READ: Becoming a Zero-Emissions State — How Alternative Fuels Are Transforming Transportation in Colorado

Ethical leadership

An ethical leadership model foregrounds the importance of your business’s values and champions the dignity of others. To become an ethical leader, you’ll need to audit your current policy and procedures to ensure that all of your corporate social responsibility values are aligned. 

Promote ethical leadership in your company by opening lines of communication. This will help you pick up on missteps and help you better understand the challenges that your staff face. Beware of bias when becoming an ethical leader — it’s easy to believe you’re doing a great job when, in fact, folks are scared to tell you the truth. 

Identify biases by offering anonymous reviews. Once you’ve gathered some data, use the reviews to make policy-level changes to your firm. 

Employee empowerment

Your employees are the backbone of your business. Without highly engaged, motivated staff, your company will fail. As a modern employer, you should do everything in your power to ensure that your people feel empowered at work and proud to say they work for your business. 

Start by overhauling your benefits and policies to include everyone. For example, if you’re about to run a new recruitment drive, review your job advertisements to assess the materials’ inclusivity. You need to recruit a diverse cast of employees if you want staff to feel empowered at work, but may accidentally alienate some applicants with gendered or restrictive language. 

Find unique ways to reward employees who champion your values at work. Put aside a budget for these boons, and give your star employees a chance to decide how they’d like to be rewarded. This ensures that your staff feels valued and can make full use of your empowerment program. 

READ: Navigating the New Era of Employee Engagement — Everything You Need to Know

The bottom line 

Corporate social responsibility is key to the long-term success of lean workplaces. By embracing CSR, you can build a better future for your business and your employees. Embrace simple changes at first — like using more inclusive language — and build on these by reviewing your CSR performance every quarter. 

 

Indiana Lee Bio PictureIndiana Lee is a writer, reader, and jigsaw puzzle enthusiast from the Pacific Northwest. An expert on business operations, leadership, marketing, and lifestyle, you can connect with her on LinkedIn.

Revolutionizing Employee Satisfaction: Unveiling the Role of Technology in Modern Workplaces

Technology has penetrated all aspects of life, including entertainment, communication, education and work, to provide users with the most stress-free experience. In fact, businesses have been heavily invested in adopting technology, as it directly influences workers’ comfort and satisfaction, positively affecting their performance and engagement; it’s a win-win situation that benefits both the company and employees.

So, in this article, we highlight the top factors contributing to employee satisfaction and how modern technology has helped reshape the work experience.

READ: Navigating the New Era of Employee Engagement — Everything You Need to Know

Factors contributing to employee satisfaction

Work-life Balance

Employees cannot achieve peak productivity without taking time away from tedious and numerous work tasks. In particular, remote work often does not allow for breaks or days off, which can increase physical and psychological stress. Therefore, it is recommended that workers limit their work hours to a maximum of 6-8 hours per day and allocate a minimum of one day per week to relax and unwind away from work-related stress.

READ: Navigating the Post-Pandemic Workplace: Struggles, Solutions and the Return to Office Culture

Job autonomy

Being restricted and controlled by a micromanager who wants everything done their way is the first step towards stifling a worker’s creativity and limiting work development to a single, narrow perspective. Instead, all employees should be allowed to approach their tasks as they deem appropriate, as long as they achieve the objectives. Creative ideas and talents can emerge under the right, flexible and empowering management, ultimately benefiting the company.

Recognition and rewards

All the time and effort spent on work can be wasted if it is not reinforced with appreciation shown through recognition and rewards. Kind words and a pat on the back can greatly impact employee satisfaction, loyalty and motivation. A cash reward for hardworking employees after a month of toil and achievements can also go a long way.

Elevating workplace convenience through innovative technological solutions

Technology has been essentially created for the benefit of humankind: to make their lives easier by simplifying tasks and enhancing problem-solving. Employing these innovations to promote employee satisfaction and increase profits has yielded remarkable results. According to the Global Council for Happiness and Well-being, “Organizations with positive well-being scores were, on average, 16% more profitable.”

Leading technological solutions that contribute to employees satisfaction:

Wireless charging stations

Wireless charging stations are a great addition to any office, allowing many devices to charge safely simultaneously. There is no need to provide a variety of chargers to accommodate different employees’ devices, as one of the top benefits of wireless charging stations is charging all mobile devices that support the wireless charging feature. Not to mention the aesthetic touch they add to the office by eliminating the uninviting appearance of tangled wires.

Smart desks and chairs

Because employee comfort is the number one consideration for a relaxed and productive work experience, desks and chairs must be of the highest quality. Smart desks and chairs adapt to the needs of workers and enhance their comfort and well-being. For example, a smart chair can monitor workers’ posture and how long they’ve been sitting and recommend a break. Desks should be adjustable in height to suit workers of all heights and prevent hand, back and neck pain.

READ: 5 Ways to Elevate Conference Room Technology

Flexible work arrangements facilitated by technology

Products that are capable of assisting employees and boosting their satisfaction don’t have to cost an arm and a leg; there are many free tools and applications online to benefit from:

Virtual collaboration tools

These tools provide an interface that allows workers to share work-related data and ideas regardless of their physical location, making it possible to work from home, the office or anywhere else. They create an artificial workplace where all remote workers can be familiar with their tasks and responsibilities, communicate and keep track of progress. 

There are many virtual collaboration tools available, but our favorite choice is Slack. It offers a user-friendly interface, facilitates video calls, messaging and file sharing, and is compatible with Google Drive.

Compressed workweeks schedules

While many workers prefer to work long, extended hours three or four days a week and have the rest of the time off, several online scheduling tools provide well-structured plans for such arrangements. 

The bottom line

Achieving employee satisfaction is one of the most important concerns for any employer. Teams cannot achieve the company’s objectives and yield profits until they are comfortable and satisfied. Employing technology for this purpose is a smart move and a guaranteed investment that will bear fruit within a short timeframe.

 

Anna White is a dynamic Tech Entrepreneur known for her relentless drive for innovation and transforming ideas into successful ventures. With a proven track record of launching and scaling tech startups, she excels in identifying market opportunities and developing groundbreaking solutions. As a visionary leader, Anna assembles talented teams, fosters a culture of creativity, and executes strategic plans that drive business growth. Currently, she works with NYTSTND, where she continues to disrupt industries and shape the future through her innovative ventures.

Fake Flex: The Underlying Risks of Misleading Job Postings and Recruiting

Flexible work arrangements remain very important to job candidates, so it is no surprise many job posts emphasize remote or hybrid work arrangements. Almost a third of hybrid employees, and almost two thirds of remote employees, expressed they would be extremely likely to look for another job if their employer decided not to offer remote work opportunities, as measured by Gallup in May 2023.

READ: Managing a Remote Work Team with Communication and Ease

However, not every role advertising flexible work arrangements lives up to that promise. In a continually competitive labor market, some organizations are selling themselves to candidates for their flex schedules, only for new hires to discover the job is not as flexible as advertised.

Flexible schedules and remote work options give employees greater autonomy over when and where they work. Many organizations have reasonable guidelines about when and how often employees need to work in the office. That being said, some rules are more restrictive than others, and not all recruiters are upfront about these rules in job interviews.

Even if recruiters do not see themselves as deceptive for withholding specifics on flexible work policies, candidates may feel differently. It is critical to be honest in job descriptions and throughout the recruitment process in order to find the best fit. Employers should be transparent, focus on culture and consider their policies carefully.

READ: Navigating the Post-Pandemic Workplace — Struggles, Solutions and the Return to Office Culture

Be transparent

Candidates want flexible work opportunities, but most understand there may be limits on how flexible they can be. A McKinsey survey in June 2022 found 58 percent of Americans work remotely at least one day a week and 35 percent can work remotely five days a week. With policies that vary widely, savvy job candidates know their next employer may allow more, or fewer, remote workdays than their current employer.

Employers may have concerns that being too explicit about their remote or hybrid work policy could drive away candidates if they offer less flexibility than competitors. However, that ultimately wastes time and resources because candidates who highly value flexibility are unlikely to accept an offer and could even feel misled by recruiters.

The best choice is to clearly state attendance policies in a job description, reiterate them during the interview and allow candidates to ask questions. While excessive detail is not needed, job posts can simply state the number of days employees are required to be in office. Exceptions or addendums to the policy can be shared during a phone or face-to-face interview. If there is a waiting period for remote work benefits, candidates should be informed before they sign their offer so they can make appropriate arrangements for travel, childcare or other personal obligations.

READ: Overcoming Hiring Challenges — 4 Strategies for Companies to Attract Legal Talent in Colorado

Focus on culture

Candidates can possess the skills and experience necessary for a role but may struggle without a good culture fit. When businesses are not transparent with candidates about the nature of their flexible work policies, they undermine the trust needed to build a strong culture. Businesses also misrepresent their culture, which is shaped in part by how and when employees work.

It is true that being open about flexible work policies may lead some candidates to self-select out of an applicant pool, out of the desire for more flexibility. However, the converse is also true that some candidates will prefer to spend more time with colleagues in the office and may not apply to a job that seems too focused on remote work.

If businesses do not clearly state their policies during recruitment, they risk driving away candidates who might have thrived with more face-to-face workdays. Recruiters should communicate not only flexible work policies, but also how these policies shape organizational culture, to find candidates with a strong culture fit.

READ: How to Craft an Ideal Employee Experience Strategy — 6 Easy Steps

Evaluate flexible work policies

Businesses are unlikely to withhold information about their flexible work policies for no reason. In many cases, recruiters may feel as though their employer’s policies make it more difficult to attract high quality candidates, especially if highly flexible work policies are an industry standard. However, misrepresenting flexible work rules is not an answer. Rather, employers may need to reevaluate their standards.

Every business has differing needs, some of which may require more in-office time than others. For instance, teams which collaborate frequently may benefit from face-to-face brainstorming more than teams working more independently. However, if research reveals competing organizations do offer greater flexibility, organizations need to ensure they can explain why.

The most important part of reevaluating a flexible work policy is understanding why the policies are in place and communicating those reasons with new hires and existing employees. Candidates are much more likely to accept limitations on flexible work when they feel their potential employer has a sound explanation.

Misleading job candidates is never acceptable. By being upfront, prioritizing culture and assessing their existing policies, organizations can manage expectations around flexible work arrangements and find the top talent for their needs.

 

Niki JorgensenNiki Jorgensen is a Managing Director of Client Implementation with Insperity, a leading provider of human resources offering the most comprehensive suite of scalable HR solutions available in the marketplace. For more information about Insperity, call 800-465-3800 or visit www.insperity.com.