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As companies mandate employees to return to the office, workers are finding creative ways to resist. One new trend is called “coffee badging,” which involves showing up to the office for just enough time to grab a cup of coffee and earn an imaginary badge for being there, before heading back home to work.
A recent survey by Owl Labs found that 58% of hybrid workers have admitted to coffee badging, and another 8% said they would like to try it. The survey also found that 69% of workers believe their employers are requiring them to work from the office because of traditional work expectations, even though 60% of hybrid workers say they are more productive when working from home.
Why Are Office Workers Coffee Badging?
So, why are hybrid workers just showing for a few hours at the office and then leaving? According to the survey, there are a few reasons.
- Save Money: It’s expensive to go to the office. Employees spend an average of $51 per day on meals and coffee ($29), commuting ($14), petcare ($20), and parking ($8). Shorter visits can help reduce meals and petcare costs.
- Save Time: Commuting takes a lot of time. With 61% of workers spending 30 minutes to 1.5 hours commuting each day, the office experience needs to make the round-trip worthwhile.
- Increase Productivity: Many workers feel that they are more productive when working from home. They don’t have to deal with distractions from coworkers or office noise, and they can work more flexible hours.
Coffee badging is a symptom of a larger problem: the disconnect between what employers want and what employees need. Employers are stuck in a traditional mindset that requires employees to be in the office in order to be productive. Employees, on the other hand, are demanding more flexibility and autonomy.
Coffee Badging By Generation
The Owl Labs survey of hybrid workers also showed an interesting breakdown of coffee badging by generation. Millennials were most likely to be Coffee Badgers (63%), followed by Generation X (54%), then Generation Z (43%) and lastly Boomers (38%).
Pairing Work Perks With Return-To-Office Mandates
Coffee badging is a sign that the workplace is changing. Companies with RTO mandates need to take note of these trends.
Office workers need a reason to return to the office. Employers need to find a way to make the office experience more attractive and productive for hybrid workers. This could include offering flexible schedule hours, paying for commuting costs, welcoming pets at the office, and providing on-site childcare and eldercare.
Urooj is a freelance writer of some repute, even if she says so herself. Her goal in life is to be published in every international magazine and visitor-load-weary website. She can be contacted at kaziurooj [at] gmail [dot] com.