The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Coffee: If You’re Not Drinkin’, I Don’t Know What You’re Thinkin’
We are all aware that the caffeine in coffee has an effect on our bodies. Many of us feel that these effects wake us up, get us going and make us more productive. Is this really the case? We’ve been looking at the evidence to find out. Although everyone differs in the way their body responds to coffee, there is overwhelming evidence that when consumed sensibly, it can aid productivity.
Coffee has positive effects on alertness, short term memory, long term memory, mood, energy and even employee well-being. All the aforementioned states can increase productivity. Coffee has been found to increase alertness, particularly in those already tired. When we are more alert we can process information faster, which in turn aids productivity. Memory recall also improved productivity as time is not wasted searching for answers to things we already know. Coffee has been shown to improve this process too.
Caffeine boosts the mood, and a more positive mind-set is linked to better productivity, as is increased energy. Coffee boosts energy levels as long as it is consumed steadily, avoiding a caffeine crash. Finally, coffee is so valued by employees that good quality coffee provided at work boosts the sense of employee well-being. Employees who feel valued have been proven more productive. Add all these up…and you’d better get drinking coffee.
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CAN COFFEE MAKE YOU MORE PRODUCTIVE?
Let’s consider the basics…
HOW DOES COFFEE AFFECT THE BRAIN?
Caffeine blocks the functionality of a neuromodulator called adenosine (believed to promote sleep) by attaching itself to adenosine’s receptors thus impairing it’s ability to slow down nerve cell activity. Science.
Adenosine binds to receptors = Drowsiness
Coffee binds to same receptors = Prevents drowsiness
Caffeine also increases neuron firing, which in turn stimulates adrenaline production.
This has a number of effects on the body.
- Pupils dilate
- Heart beats faster
- Airways open up
- Blood pressure rises
- Blood flow to stomach slows
- Liver releases sugar into bloodstream
- Muscles tighten up, ready for action
- Blood vessels on surface constrict and blood is redirected to muscles
Okay, so with all these physical changes…
DOES COFFEE AFFECT PRODUCTIVITY?
- Low doses of caffeine (100 – 250mg) improve
Alertness and mental performance
- Higher caffeine consumption
Reduces the risk of workplace accidents
SHORT TERM MEMORY
- Coffee can help
Retrieve words from memory quicker
- People with moderate to higher caffeine intake
Perform better later in the day
compared to those with lower intake
LONG TERM MEMORY
- People who increased their caffeine intake were
Able to recall more words after a length of time
- Those with higher habitual intake*
Perform better on word storage and retrieval tasks
compared to those with lower intake**
- Caffeine is known to
Boost the mood, resulting in better productivity
- Low to moderate caffeine intake can
Improve hedonic tone and reduce anxiety
The mood-enhancing properties are more effective in older adults than younger individuals.
Having two cups of coffee with a low carbohydrate intake (say a slice of toast) has been proven to positively influence mood and cognitive ability, which the bread alone did not.
REG vs. DECAF
Caffeinated coffee can have a greater positive effect on mood than decaffeinated coffee. However, decaf can still improve your mood, implying there is something other than caffeine at play in improving our mood.
Increased energy from caffeine can help boost productivity levels, but you can also suffer the dreaded caffeine crash! Here are a few hints to help:
REDUCE THE CAFFEINE CRASH AND BOOST ENERGY LEVELS
- Drink slowly, gradually releasing the caffeine into your bloodstream
- If drinking in the morning, drink water alongside to stay hydrated and focused
- Eat slow-burning foods like grains, vegetables, and fruits to keep energy levels high
- Don’t drink on an empty stomach, this stimulates stomach acid which affects energy levels
- Wait before drinking another cup. Try to spread out your caffiene intake
- 75% of office workers* said
Good quality coffee at work made employees feel valued by their employer
* Taking part in a ComRes Survey of 2,500 people
- Good quality coffee at work plays a part in
Making employees more productive, successful, and sociable at work
Caffeine, other ingredients of coffee and even the pleasure of drinking coffee all have positive effects on…
- EMPLOYEE WELLBEING
All of which increase productivity!
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