Back to work: the importance of coffee breaks

August is over and so are the holidays for most of us (especially in Italy where usually summer holidays are taken in this month)!

As we go back to our offices (or perhaps home offices), we shall have a look at some strategies to take our relaxation mode with us (at least for a while!) 

Several scientific studies have shown that one of the most important rituals to keep that balanced mind-set during the day is to have several and well-timed: (coffee) breaks!


Why are coffee breaks good for productivity?

Coffee breaks have been proven to be good for productivity for several reasons. First of all, this is not (only) about coffee! Whether it be for a tea, water or for no reason at all, just taking a walk and getting your feet moving is a great way to release stress and make your brain rest for a while.
As reported in Psychology Today , sitting for many hours is one of the biggest diseases of our era. Many functions of our body are affected, from the digestive system, to our posture, hormones and our general mood. Sitting for many hours affects the entire body but also our minds.
Especially when we are sitting for many hours in front of a screen, our brains are permanently engaged in a multi-functional way with various activities at the same time as stated in this article of Psychology Today. How often has it happened that to jump back and forth from one app or program to the next. As the author of Deep Work, Cal Newport, states in his book that this constant movement, which in the modern society and workplace seems “normal” has been proven to be very stressful for our brains and increases the disability to focus on one topic at a time.
Back to work: the importance of coffee breaks
Coffee can improve productivity, creativity and team work

Does caffeine improve productivity?

It surely does! Coffee has long been proven to boost concentration, alertness and creativity. Anyhow, it is still important to time and measure the amounts of coffee we drink. Depending on the body mass, height and weight we are able to consume more or less caffeine during the day.
A very interesting article from Forbes conducted on test groups during work meetings in which coffee was and was not consumed. It found that the “caffeinated” group had increased performance results. It also analyses the “social” aspect of coffee shops and how productivity can be enhanced through caffeine and co-working spaces.
Back to work: the importance of coffee breaks
Coffee breaks are good for productivity

When is the best time to drink coffee?

In the book Making Time by former “Googlers”, Jade Knapp and John Zeratsky in which they analyse the human daily routine, we found some interesting suggestions on time optimization and when the best moment is to drink coffee throughout the day. One of their very interesting findings is that much about coffee consumption depends on the timing, not on on the quantity.

One of their statements, for example, is that it should best be consumed approximately 1 or 2 hours after waking up. On the other hand, to consume coffee after 4 – 5 pm is not recommended for people with sleep difficulties. Here below you will find a simple chart which very clearly illustrates a summary of their findings:

Back to work: the importance of coffee breaks
Making time by Jade Knapp and John Zeratsky
A study by the Professor Steven Miller of the University of Health Sciences in Bethesda explains that it is best to consume coffee when our natural state of cortisol starts dropping (usually around 9.30 to 11.30 am and right after lunch, for normal office working hours).

Caffeine levels of Arabica and Robusta

In one of our next articles we will also talk about the difference in the levels of caffeine between Arabica and Robusta coffee varieties as these are very different. This can be a help in your guide for choosing the best coffee variety, single origin or blend for your home or office!