Should free tea be a work perk?

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The cost of free tea and coffee

Many people argue that providing free hot drinks is a small
gesture – even HM Revenue & Customs classifies free tea and coffee at work
as a ‘trivial
benefit’. Those companies that don’t offer this seemingly small perk might
therefore be considered stingy.

In fact, 38 per cent of workers believe that offering
bottomless beverages is the least an employer can do, a 2010 survey from
showed. Thirteen per cent judge companies based on their provisions, worrying
about meanness if free drinks are denied.

However, the price of brew benefits soon adds up. A Leeds
University Business School study from 2012 showed that every cuppa costs
the employer 58p – that equates to £276.53 per employee per year. Earlier T6
research had similar findings.

The main expense is put down to lost man hours: every minute
spent waiting for the kettle to boil is not one working. However, it’s not
necessarily unproductive. Giving brains a break and encouraging networking are
just two of the benefits to be gleaned from a trip to the kitchen.

Occupational psychologist and Lancaster University professor
Cary Cooper told the BBC:
“Nowadays we sit in front of screens not communicating eyeball to eyeball and
even e-mail people in the same building. We need to make people more active and
see other people. The coffee break is one way of doing this.”

How to lower expenditure

The best compromise is reducing the beverage budget without
sacrificing the potential advantages. You can achieve this by purchasing
long-life milk in calculated quantities to prevent wastage, and choosing
wholesale products to take advantage of bulk savings.

With our Nescafe
Original 750g tub
, a cup of coffee costs
around 5p. Buy two or more Yorkshire
Tea 1200 packs
, and each teabag is just over 2p. See our entire wholesale
tea and coffee
range for more deals.

Do you offer free tea
and coffee at your workplace? Would you rather workers spent less time in the
kitchen and more at their desk, or are you happy to give staff their mini brew
breaks? Leave your opinion below.