Let’s talk about coffee.

You’ve got a coffee machine in your office, right? Probably with different flavored coffees, too. And teas, I bet. You do this because, well, you like a good cup once in a while. But you also do this for your employees. This is not just an office perk — it’s almost a work requirement. If your office is like any typical office, then your people drop their stuff at their desks and head straight for the coffee machine as soon as they arrive in the morning. Later, they’ll stretch their legs and take a break a couple of times a day. They drink coffee to keep them alert…and to socialize. It’s all good. Just about every client I work with has coffee available for their employees.

Unfortunately, offering coffee to your employees isn’t cheap. The days of the single coffee pot and a can of Maxwell House are over. Today it’s that fancy, gourmet stuff. Most of my clients have a coffee service where they rent out the machine and pay a monthly fee for its maintenance and supplies. For some, the cost can run to a couple hundred bucks a month. If this sounds like you, then it’s likely that you’ve thought of possibly — possibly, I say — charging your employees for the use of the coffee, or cutting it out entirely.

I say: Don’t even think it. Why? Because coffee is not just a perk for your employees. It’s also proving to be a big benefit to employers like you — for an entirely different reason.

According to recent studies in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, people who drink even a moderate amount of coffee have been found to be more engaged with their fellow employees.

As reported by Arizona TV station KGUN9, the studies found that “consuming a moderate amount of caffeinated coffee prior to indulging in a group activity enhances an individual’s task-relevant participation in the group activity. In addition, subjective evaluations of the participation of other group members and oneself are also positively influenced. Finally, the positive impact of consuming a moderate amount of caffeinated coffee on the evaluation of participation of other group members and oneself is moderated by a sense of an increased level of alertness.”

Is it the caffeine? The sugar? The fancy hazelnut flavoring? No one knows for sure. Forget the company picnic, the “escape room” expeditions, the outward bound adventures. It seems that the best thing to do to get your people to work better together is just to ply them with more coffee!

While this is good news for the entire coffee industry, it’s also good news for you. A caffeinated workforce appears to be a more productive workforce. So don’t cut out the coffee — and don’t make your employees pay for it, either. That few dollars a month is not only making them happier, but also more profitable for your small business.

Next Steps:  Are you looking to keep up with the latest research and trends? We’ve got you covered with the weekly Small Biz Ahead Newsletter. Sign up today and start receiving the weekly newsletter chock full of the latest tools and resources to help you run a successful business.