Last year a coffee corner was introduced at our office. It has real coffee, a range of coffees and a real barista. It got the seal of approval from our Italian team mate and quickly became popular with the whole building.
During the period B.C.E.(Before Coffee Era) there was an eternal shortage of meeting rooms, as most of our office space is open plan. Using the restaurant was a last resort, partly because it was a big empty unfriendly space and partly because there was no coffee.
So now we’re in the C.E (Coffee Era), between 8am and about 3.30 we can buy real coffee. It’s still popular six months after the introduction and there have been a couple of unintended consequences.
(1) we will now choose to have meetings in the restaurant, and because there’s plenty of space to spread out it still feels like you can discuss things openly at your table. Suddenly there’s no shortage of meeting rooms.
(2) I see lots of colleagues from other teams/departments who I never used to see, and have been able to catch up with them on work things more easily. We’ll chat, we’ll schedule “coffee dates”.
I’ve been in meetings with some very bright people discussing how to break down organisational silos to increase knowledge sharing and collaboration; turns out all we needed to do was serve up some quality coffee.