Today’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 in the UK 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.
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.