Tea and productivity

Michael MoranToday’s blog post is by 10Eighty CEO and Founder Michael Moran. He has a passion for helping people maximise their potential and believes everyone should have job satisfaction and a successful career, and helps organisations design jobs and career paths that maximise employee engagement. 

A Chinese proverb says that “a day without tea is a day without joy.”

The British take their tea seriously so when we found out it was National Tea Day this Saturday (21 April 2018) we thought we’d bring you our exclusively 10Eighty take on the British workplace and the time-honoured tradition of the tea break.

The tea break is a chance to “down tools” and get away from the computer to relax from work for 10 minutes. Tea brings people together and every office has someone who asks if anyone wants a cup of tea with a frequency that may dismay some managers. The British consume 60 billion cups per year, according to the Tea and Infusions Organisation.

National-Tea-Day-2018 Tea Productivity

Bond and boost morale

Studies show that an average worker takes 24 minutes per day to make or fetch tea or coffees. That equates to 190 days of productivity over the course of a lifetime but the great British tea break ultimately makes workers more productive. Getting away from the desk or bench for a short break is known to increase productivity and the social aspect of the tea break improves bonding with co-workers thereby boosting morale.

Time taken over the tea break is not wasted, it only takes a couple of minutes to make a hot drink but more to the point workers who gather at the drinks machine or in the kitchen are engaging in conversation with other employees, and around 70 percent of those conversations are work-related. A tea break is an opportunity to network and to catch up with colleagues who work in other parts of the office.

At 10Eighty we think George Orwell was right in saying that tea is one of the “mainstays of civilisation”. We firmly believe that the tea break is an ideal opportunity to share knowledge and news about work-related issues, ultimately improving performance and efficiency; regular tea breaks help boost productivity, creativity and a sensible work/life balance.

Tea contains powerful antioxidants that can help boost your immune system, it is refreshing, whatever the weather, and can even put you in a better mood. Green tea has been proven to improve memory as well as increase task performance.

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“The power of a quality cup of tea has long been a source of rejuvenation for Britain’s workforce and the tea break is integral in the workplace” says Isabelle Haynes, Senior Brand Manager, OOH at Tetley, well she would say that wouldn’t she?

Added to that anthropologist Kate Fox says that alongside its chemical properties, tea is an infallible social space-filler as “tea-making is the perfect displacement activity: whenever the English feel awkward or uncomfortable in a social situation (that is, almost all the time), they make tea.”

James Field, senior training manager at Debrett’s Training Academy, said the British tend to feel that it’s important to be able to offer clients a tea “because it can be a daunting thing coming into your office. They’re not in their space and they may feel a little on edge, so to get the best out of them, it’s important to serve them well.”

Which brings us to the important question of what to have with the tea, because we all know that tea is too wet without a biscuit. A study by biscuit baker, Thomas J Fudges, of 2,000 British workers, revealed one in four would be more likely to close a deal in a meeting because of the biscuits provided, with shortbread, chocolate bourbons and flapjacks all likely to win a favourable reaction.

Whether you favour builder’s tea, Earl Grey or iced tea, which may be the tea of choice this sunny weekend, make time to take your tea break.

Michael is Chief Executive of 10Eighty. 10Eighty is a career and talent management consultancy that helps organizations maximize the contribution of their employees by ensuring satisfying jobs and careers for their employees. Michael is a Human Resources professional, having worked in the National Health Service, Insurance, Commodities and Derivatives industries. He has worked within the career coaching business for fifteen years, both managing a £7 million business and delivering bespoke, one to one career coaching. In the last 15 years Michael has run businesses that have helped 75,000 people make successful career transitions. He is a frequent commentator in the press/media, which includes a range of topics on “successfully managing your career” and talent management. Most recent media mentions have included BBC South, CNBC, Radio4, Financial Times, City AM, Financial News, Evening Standard, The Sunday Times, The Grapevine and HR Magazine, to name but a few. He writes a careers column for People Management, a blog for the Human Resources Magazine and is a regular contributor to The Thompson Reuters HR Portal. Michael is known as a thought provoking speaker in the HR industry. In the last 18 months, Michael spoke at the Careers Partner International Conference, NHS breakthrough conference, NHS North West Leadership Academy, London School of Economics, University of Westminster’s Talent Management Conference, ICAEW Finance Directors Conference, CIPD learning and development conference and CIPD branch seminars. He is also Chair of the CIPD’s Central London Branch. Additionally is a non executive director of Marshall ACM, an e-learning company and the Total Reward Group, a compensation and benefits consultancy. Michael plans to publish his book “The guide to everlasting employability” in the Autumn 2012. He has just launched an iphone app “careers snakes and ladders” and an online interactive version of the book in collaboration with Marshall ACM to coincide the launch of his new business 10Eighty. Michael has a degree in Economics, a MBA from Warwick Business School and is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. He holds an accreditation from the British Psychological Society for the use of psychometrics. Michael has completed the Fairplace Internal Accreditation Programme, the training element of which is externally recognised by the Association for Coaching. Michael Moran was until January 2012 Chief Executive of Fairplace and a main board director of Savile plc, the career and talent management consultancy. Fairplace is part of the Savile Group, an AIM listed plc. The Savile Group was placed 16th in the Sunday Times top 100 small companies in 2010.

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