Coffee Badging: The silent protest in everyday office life

Gina Schumacher

More and more employers are urging their employees to return to the office and demonstrate presence. But what happens when employees are reluctant to comply with this request? The result is the emerging phenomenon known as "coffee badging".

What is coffee badging?

A group of coworkers stand around and do coffee badging.

In the context of working life, coffee badging means that employees show up at the office for a few hours a day to signal their presence to their superiors. This is often done in conjunction with morning coffee consumption before retiring to the home office for the rest of the day. It is a silent protest in which employees express their dissatisfaction and rejection without communicating this openly.

Why do employees engage in coffee badging?

The pandemic has familiarized many employees with the benefits of working from home. The flexibility of working from home allowed people to better adapt their working day to their personal needs. The time saved and the elimination of the daily commute brought not only more free time but also an improved work-life balance.

Some employees therefore prefer the flexibility of working from home and see no need to commute to the office every day. Others simply feel more comfortable in their familiar surroundings. The trend of coffee badging is a kind of compromise between the obligation to be present in the office and the desire for flexibility, and it is important to understand that coffee badging is not just an avoidance of presence, but also a cry for help from employers. It is a silent protest for more flexibility and understanding of the individual needs of employees.

How can you prevent coffee badging?

A red-haired woman works from home.

The question at hand is: How can employers and employees collaboratively find solutions that cater to the needs of both parties? Dialogue is the first step toward a satisfactory resolution for all involved. Here are some ideas and suggestions:

1. More flexible work models:

Employers could offer more flexible work models that allow employees to work effectively both in the office and from home. This could mean, for instance, that employees only need to be in the office on specific days for important meetings or team activities.

2. Communication and understanding:

Employers should actively engage with their employees to understand their concerns and desires. Open and honest communication is key to avoiding conflicts and finding solutions that work for everyone.

3. Technological support:

Utilizing technology to facilitate collaboration between office and remote workers can make “Coffee Badging” less relevant. Workplace booking software like Flexopus or video and conference technologies enable seamless collaboration regardless of location.

Increase motivation with Flexopus - the desk-sharing solution

A picture of the desk sharing software Flexopus.

Flexopus could be the right tool to prevent coffee badging in offices and make it easier for employees to return to the office. Here are 4 reasons why the introduction of desk-sharing software could increase employees' motivation to come back to the office:

1. Flexibility in planning office visits

By using Flexopus, employees can better plan their presence in the office. The system makes it possible to display available office spaces, meeting rooms, and parking spaces. Flexopus thus offers employees the opportunity to adjust their working days and locations according to their individual needs.

2. Avoidance of overcrowding

Flexopus can help to avoid overcrowding in the office by enabling employees to coordinate their attendance times. Employees can check the live schedule from home to see whether it is worth coming into the office or not.

3. Optimization of meetings and team activities

By integrating Flexopus, teams can better synchronize their presence times in the office. The system makes it easier to plan important meetings and team activities that require personal attendance. The search function allows you to filter for specific colleagues, so you can see at a glance who is in the office and when. ‍

4. Search function for objects

Flexopus makes it easier for employees to search for specific objects such as docking stations. The live plan allows you to see directly which desks are equipped, for example, with a docking station, and whether they are currently available. This enables efficient planning of the workspace according to individual needs.

Conclusion: Shaping the Workplace of the Future

The trend of “Coffee Badging” underscores the need to continue transforming the workplace and take employees’ needs seriously. Instead of being a silent rebellion, this trend could lead to a constructive dialogue that results in a better work environment for all.

In an era where flexibility and individual needs hold greater importance, employers and employees should collaborate on solutions that enhance satisfaction and productivity. The workplace of tomorrow will be defined by a balanced approach between in-person work and more flexible models, and the “Coffee Badging” protest can contribute to driving this change forward.

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Markus Merkle
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