Have you ever thought about the link between drinking coffee and being successful at work? If you think hard, you notice that many people, perhaps yourself included, have taken up coffee drinking around the time you landed your first serious job.
The main reason why people start drinking coffee at work is that it helps them destress instantly. Of course, the first cup early in the morning gets us going but as the day goes on, we need an extra boost to help us deal with the stress of an increasing workload.
Luckily, drinking coffee at work isn’t all about stress and anxiety, as you can chat with coworkers over a cup of warm coffee someone prepared for you. As far as the level of productivity is concerned, coffee does have an effect on it, which you should know more about.
Its majesty, caffeine
Among the things a true coffee lover needs to know is the effect caffeine has on our body. There are people who love coffee because of its taste or the ritual of drinking it but business people usually drink coffee because they are after that sweet caffeine rush.
In this sense, we’ll be straightforward and say that caffeine is actually a psychoactive drug and a popular one, for that matter. The effect it has on our brain is related to the way we produce and use adenosine, a nucleoside composed of D-ribose and adenine.
Neurons in our brain produce adenosine as they fire during the day. Once they have produced enough adenosine, the nervous system reacts by putting the entire body to sleep. That is why you might feel exhausted in the afternoon even if you haven’t done anything particular that day.
At times like these during the day, we feel up for a cup of coffee and for a good reason. The intake of caffeine has the power to block adenosine by entering the A1 receptor, albeit not activating it. As a result, we feel more energized but not directly thanks to caffeine.
Caffeine may help release the inner beast inside us but over time, your organism builds up a tolerance to it. Just compare the effect the very first cup of coffee had on your psyche to the lukewarm boost you feel today. Luckily, this tolerance can be assuaged by drinking more and more coffee, including a mandatory cup at work.
The (in)direct link between coffee and productivity
As Thomas Alva Edison was famously quoted saying: “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.” The same can be said for the effect caffeine has, as it is merely the boost that your metabolism needs to get a particular job done, but you are the one performing it.
Caffeine can raise your alertness level and help you feel more energized but it does not make you more creative or productive per se. However, if you’re a determined person and highly motivated at work, then you can definitely reap the benefit of enhanced cognitive performance, the ability to focus better, increased accuracy and response time, as well as a short-term memory boost. These are all benefits associated with drinking caffeine-lade drinks and you can also check the comparison between coffee and pre-workout and see what works with you.
How much coffee you drink
We’ve mentioned earlier that you can fight your body’s tolerance of caffeine by drinking more cups of coffee per day. However, the exact effect of caffeine is determined by several factors, not only the amount of this hot beverage you intake.
Like any other substance you might look for on the dietary chart, the effectiveness of caffeine is determined by its dosage, the drinker’s bodyweight, his or her age, time of the day, the dosage itself, the particular blend, etc.
The general rule is that the less often you drink coffee, the bigger effect it will have on your brain. For people who don’t drink coffee at all, espresso can have a substantial effect on their behavior. That’s why some people decide to only drink coffee on workdays and skip the beverage on the weekend, so as to maximize the effect.
Needless to say, if you drink several cups of coffee a day, every day (which we don’t recommend), you might get the “jitters,” as coffee lovers call them. Experiencing heart palpitations or feeling anxiety from too much coffee are the drug’s (caffeine) side effects you should really aim to avoid.
The importance of sleep and how caffeine affects our sleep cycles
Speaking of the side effects of caffeine, we cannot but mention sleep cycles. In order to be productive or to even get up from bed, for that matter, the quality of our sleep is essential. Besides the mandatory 7 to 9 hours of sleep per day, our naps have to be of good quality as well; without major interruptions.
Since it is an adenosine inhibitor, caffeine also affects our sleep in a negative way. If you’ve ever drunk a cup of coffee after 8 PM, then we are sure you know what we’re talking about. There’s a good reason you were fidgeting about the whole night after that one late cup of coffee.
As we have stated earlier, all that caffeine messes up, to use that term, our nervous system, and its natural signals, that’s time to rest. The sleep hormone is inhibited so it takes us longer to go to sleep and not only that, we wake up tired, which has a direct impact on our level of productivity the following day.
How to go about drinking coffee at work
You might realize by now that it is important how much coffee we drink and when do we drink it. Needless to say, a cup of coffee in the evening will do more harm than good but a cup of coffee in the office at noon will get us energized and pumped up for the job.
If you feel up for work, then a cup of coffee will help you get things done faster and more efficiently; in one word, you will be more productive in the short-run (or at least until the time when you go home). For this reason, employers often equip office space with coffee machines for businesses and buy coffee beans for their employees. These can be ground or aromatic, whatever the workers like.
Some people like to use these machines at the very start of work as soon as they enter the office. Others prefer a coffee break midday, while the third group of employees likes to make a cup of coffee, bring it to their desk, and sip it there slowly as they work.
There is nothing wrong with any of these coffee-drinking strategies but the most effective one is when several employees decide to head to the coffee machine at once. In these cases, one person can make coffee for everyone else and they can chat away (at their break, of course), socially interacting and bonding. Who said coffee cannot make for a great team-building activity!
Avoiding becoming addicted to caffeine
Like any other drug, caffeine is addictive. The biggest peril coffee drinkers face is that they become dependent on coffee so much that they cannot get through the day without caffeine. Drinking coffee is really a luxury, as many people still regard it is an exotic drink and it should become an integral part of your “normal” self.
It might not be a pretty thing to say but people who drink two or more cups every day can be considered as addicts. Moreover, once you get hooked on coffee, you will not reap any benefit from it as a stimulus for productivity. You will drink coffee to survive the day, as opposed to excelling at working and giving your very best.
The health benefits of coffee
Apart from indirectly boosting your level of productivity, coffee comes with several health benefits that are useful to know, as not many people are aware of this side of their favorite drink. First of all, coffee beans are loaded with antioxidants, which decrease the risk of numerous diseases, including several types of cancer.
Secondly, coffee lowers the risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, in addition to helping fight Type II diabetes. As far as internal organs are concerned, your liver stands to gain the most from drinking coffee on a regular basis.
As we have pointed out earlier, you shouldn’t drink too much coffee, as all the aforementioned health benefits apply on in the case when you drink moderate amounts of coffee, which is no more than a cup per day. Otherwise, you risk raising the level of LDL cholesterol caused by cafestol found in unfiltered coffee drinks such as espressos.
Drinking coffee is not a substitute for resting
An essential part of being productive the whole day is knowing when to take a pause from work and rest. The more often we rest and the more quality these pauses are, the more productive we are when we get back in the “machine.”
However, some people try to ward off more than tiredness, as coffee breaks replace their regular breaks. These workers falsely believe that they needn’t have to take a break if they drink enough cups of coffee. Not only is such practice a health risk but they will actually be less productive as time goes on.
As we have said in the paragraph about sleep cycles, you shouldn’t let coffee interfere with your rest. This hot beverage can only make you more productive during the time you work; not extend the length of the period you are capable to work! If you overwork while drinking coffee, you’ll only generate a splitting headache, rather than business success.
Does coffee help you deal with anxiety?
Besides stress, another common mental issue of the modern era is anxiety. Stress comes and goes but anxiety remains with an individual for months at times. When we drink coffee, we risk exacerbating panic or anxiety attacks because coffee, or rather caffeine, stimulates the production of adrenaline.
This hormone, also known as the “stress hormone,” will worsen our mental health, especially if we drink a lot of coffee. Again, a cup per day should not produce any negative effects in terms of anxiety. However, if you drink two cups a day, then you can become easily agitated and restless, effectively bringing down your level of productivity, as you’re unable to focus. If you ever feel like panicking at work, go easy on the coffee as it might cause the opposite effect of what you are aiming for.
Finding the right dose
If the management of your company got a coffee machine for the workers, don’t miss out on the opportunity and don’t let the coffee maker sit idle. However, if you don’t drink coffee on a regular basis but would like to do so from now own, we recommend taking things slowly.
Start by making one cup of coffee per day and see how your body reacts to this caffeine intake. Depending on the coffee-making method, the size on the average cup of coffee varies from 90 to 200m milligrams.
If the dose is too much for you, prepare a nice cup of tea instead, as it too contains a sizable portion of caffeine. Tea leaves, in particular, contain more caffeine (before brewing) than coffee. Once you get your metabolism used to regular intake of caffeine, you can start making various types of coffee, from espressos to cappuccinos.
On the other hand, if you’re a heavy drinker of coffee and the office coffee machine won’t do the trick for you, give a decaf brew a try. It is a little known fact that decaffeinated coffee and some still contain caffeine but in lower amounts than regular coffee brews.
It is almost impossible to give a straightforward answer to the question does drinking coffee make us more productive. On the one side, there is no direct link between caffeine and productiveness but on the other hand, there is a strong correlation between the effects of caffeine and our alertness, improved memory, and energy levels.
These factors are important, if not essential when it comes to raising the level of productivity. In this sense, drinking coffee has an indirect impact on productivity at work so it is no wonder that we can see more and more coffee machines in offices being installed by employers themselves.