by Karen Adamedes
When there’s a lot to do it’s very easy to feel guilty about heading out of the office with colleagues for a coffee, tea or beverage of your choice!
But the time taken can actually help you be more efficient in your work and be good for your career – and that’s without taking into account any effects of the caffeine you might consume!
So next time someone asks if you want to grab a coffee with them and you’re weighing up whether you should spend the time with your workmate or get through a couple of more emails, have a think about the possible benefits of leaving the office and “taking a break”:
1. You stand up for a start.
Sitting is being called the new smoking as far as health risks like diabetes, heart disease and cancer are concerned and doctors are recommending standing up and moving at least once an hour. Pushing the chair out and walking is physically good for you.
2. You’ll give your eyes a rest.
No doubt you’ve been glued to the screen and maybe not taking the break every 15-20 minutes that the Mayo clinic recommends?
I’m not an advocate of multi-tasking but head out for that coffee and you’ve stood up, rested your eyes and you’re going to get some potential work benefits! (Winning)
3. It’s a safe environment for networking
There’s no stigmas associated with colleagues having a coffee together. Men can ask women, women can ask men – and there (should) not be anything else read into it! There’s no alcohol involved and it’s very public. Nothing to see here folks!
4. It’s an efficient way to network
In comparison with attending an event or having a meal with someone, a coffee is a quick and efficient use of time to build work relationships or get to know someone better. As soon as the coffee is done you can make your escape whenever you want.
On the other hand, if you want to buy a little extra time – drink your coffee reeaaalllly slowly. Unless the other person has another meeting they usually won’t rush away if they see your cup is half full. (A trick I learnt in meetings with clients as a sales rep – the cold coffees are worth it when you walk away with the order or a better relationship!)
5. The environment is neutral
If you’re meeting with someone you don’t work with on a day-to-day basis a coffee shop isn’t ‘your’ office or ‘their’ office. Neutral ground can be important to set the tone of a meeting.
6. It’s relaxed and a change of pace
A break from the office can help you discuss work issues in a way you wouldn’t when you’re sitting around a table with a formal agenda or a Power point presentation as the basis for the conversation.
7. You get to know people better
The time you spend and the environment of a ‘coffee catch up’ can help you get to know people better. A bit of chit chat about sports, family, holidays or weekend activities gives you a topic to connect on again in the future.
When you know people – whether they are managers, colleagues, customers or even suppliers – they are more willing to help you out with work situations. Working well with people is how good work gets done. To do this it helps if you know the people!
8. Removes distractions
When you’re sitting with someone in a coffee shop you don’t have the distraction of incoming emails, an endless to-do list and interruptions from others. You can be genuinely present and focus on the discussion with the other person.
9. A chance to think out loud
If you’re an extrovert (like me) who needs to talk to think…these breaks can be when you do your best thinking and get your break through ideas. These can really help your work!
If you’re an introvert it’s a chance to make sure that your extroverted workmates don’t go off on a tangent with their great new idea and encourage them to think them through. And an opportunity for your to explain your thinking or views on a topics – outside of the day-to-day ‘busy-ness’ of the office.
10. A chance to share your ideas or learn
You may have had a great idea that you don’t want to share in a meeting or want to test it with someone you trust. A coffee can be a chance to road test your thinking.
11. And you get a coffee!
No explanation needed.
If you really can’t afford the time for a full sit down coffee shop catch up – even saying that you don’t have time but you’ll walk with them and pick up a coffee to go will give you a valuable break and a little bit of time to reap some of the benefits.
Like more career tips to go?