We conducted some research on home working in the middle of lockdown and in their comments, respondents clearly expressed how a cup of coffee with colleagues was the thing they were missing the most. Why?
I had the pleasure to talk about this with Giampaolo Grossi, general manager of Starbucks Italy, in a live Instagram chat that had thousands of views.
During the live session, I identified three main reasons why drinking a cup of coffee while talking with someone we work with is so important and there just doesn’t seem to be an effective virtual effective replacement.
We summarized this as the “three Ps” of a coffee. cup
1) The first “P” is for Presence
Coffee gives one of the most intense sensorial experiences. This forces us to focus on the present moment, just like a form of meditation. As mindfulness shows us, our mind can fall into two main traps: dwelling on the past or skipping ahead to the future. Both pitfalls cause suffering, since the past easily leads us to regret and the future to worries.The practise of meditation teaches us to focus our mind on the present, clearing out the discomfort caused by worries and regrets. The strong taste of coffee facilitates something similar. Even though it only lasts a few minutes, it compels us to stay in the present moment.
2) The second “P” is for Person
A coffee is almost always associated with a chat. Personally, I never refuse a coffee when offered, even if I’ve just had one, just because I like the way it builds our relationship. When sipping a cup of coffee, people talk more easily and connect themselves at a level which is difficult to do without it. This is mainly due to the fact that a cup of coffee satisfies a physiological need, therefore facilitating a human exchange about “needs” in general. When holding a cup of coffee, we’re more likely to talk about personal essentials than organisational goals. Even if we talk about business, a cup of coffee allows us to be more sensitive to the human experience than to numbers and results. This is why coffee has the power to strengthen the relationship.
3) The third “P” is for Priority
Have you ever seen someone become sleepy after a cup of coffee? Of course not. Coffee ignites action as it establishes the right energy and motivation to accomplish results. Having a coffee is a bit like a pit stop in a F1 race: we restart with new tyres and a full tank. If we have a problem, the interruption of a coffee break gives our mind the opportunity to stop feeling stuck and detach from non-effective thinking routines. After drinking a cup of coffee, our sense of direction improves and we gain clarity about our priorities. We often know exactly what we need to do first, right after finishing our cup. Indeed, we start work again with a new sense of purpose.
I bet the first thing every one of us will do at work after the lockdown will be… talking about the lockdown over a good coffee!