I work for a private company as an HR Executive. Recently we purchased a coffee day coffee machine on working on the budget comparing with the coffee/tea consumption of the employees. Now employees are consuming more coffee/tea since the coffee machine prepares tasty coffees. Since the budget is going higher than the budget estimated, we have limited to 2 cups of coffee everyday. But employees work so hard and gets headache and asking for extra coffee to control the work pressure. Being an HR, in view of employees safety I raised the issue with my senior. But strictly said that we cannot provide extra coffee whatever the reason be.
Pls comment your view in this regard.
Chaithra D C

From India, Bangalore
Hi Chaitra,
its good if you can ask the employees to pay and have the coffee after their two cups. fix some amount to the coffee most of the employees reduce having the coffee very often. Else change the coffee Vending Machine.

From India, Hyderabad
Hello Chaithra D C,

This is a classic example of Murphy's Law: "The 'wants' of a person graduate to the level of the available resources".

Reg your remark 'employees work so hard and gets headache and asking for extra coffee to control the work pressure', are you sure this could be true? How did the employees handle this pressure earlier--when the coffee intake was lesser?

Indira Somala's suggestion about charging for the extra cups sounds good--BUT you could add-up in terms of the logistics involved.....like assigning someone again to handle the cash payments, later accounting, etc.

Another way to handle the situation COULD be to do away with the present vending machine & instal a coin-operated vending machine--every cup would then be payment related. Accounting for the coin-box collections would be easier this way.

And, the amount you plan to spend on coffee per-employee can be reimbursed monthly along with the salaries--as, say, Coffee/Refreshments Allowance or any such name. Whether the employees wish to spend the full or partial or extra amount on their coffees is then upto them.



From India, Hyderabad
It happens in all organisations. It is always wise to lay down the rules, before the game begins. Even before installing the vending machine, you should have had a brain-storming session with your group of people or with representatives of each department, discuss the topic thread-bare, come to an understanding and receive acceptance from all employees and then install the machine.

Now the game has started, and you find people are playing a foul game and now you want to amend the rules as the game is progressing ! hahahaha.

Well, As our friends have suggested above, you can consider changing the vending machine, provided you have not paid upfront for the cost of the machine, or if it is on lease, in which case, you can consider the swapping. But, this step, am sure, will again draw criticism and unpleasant comments from the same employees regarding the quality of coffee, since you have already pampered and spoiled them with better-tasting coffee !

So, call the department representatives, again brain-storm the topic, debate it, and from your side, explain the cost involved and then come to a conclusion, either to issue tokens and for extra cups for extra tokens on payment basis or any other option which is feasible... You have to make it very clear, without mincing words, the cost factor and the impact on the budget for the expenses, on a cumulative, annual basis.

But never think of changing the game rules, while the game is on ! That is a wrong precedence.

In future also, as HR executive, before implementing something, talk to the people in a formal manner, assess the pros and cons of the initiative that you are planning to implement, and then choose the best option available and then take management approval or blessing for the same.

This way, your headache will be much less !

Best wishes

From India
Hello Chaithra,
Most of the replies would help. I would suggest to start token system for the tea/coffee and go for a training on the impact of excess consumption of such beverages. Moreover to keep the employee's on motivated note and they don't misuse such facilities give them "Happy Day" every week such as declaring Happy Friday where they can have two extra cups, that will keep them happy.
There will be 90% of employee's who would be satisfied with this and for 10% you can't say they never would be.
Sachin Gupta

From India, Srinagar
Dear Chaitra,
Normally people never prefer coffee prepared by machines unless there is no other choice. Your case is funny. The very point of providing coffee through vending machines is not to make employee go out and waste their productive time... Its really funny to see in your case, employees drinking more coffee than the usual because the coffee is either too tasty or too good to resist. Pls try this funny captions...
Drinking more coffee makes one nervous or BP will get affected. You may also add this ,...Too much of Coffee makes a man too active and may wreck his nervous system in due course... See, when you introduce a system or rule, see that it speaks on the benefit of the consumers or stake holders, and try to imbibe the positve side on them, so that there is little resistance from them in accepting this change...
Best of Luck...

From India, Mumbai
Hello Chaitra,
In most cases, and also from experience in my organisation, I can tell you that the novelty factor wears away soon and staff members will go back to their routine of having two cups a day. You can reinforce this limit by putting up apt posters across the pantry area. However, if the consumption of coffee continues to be on the rise, you can think of alternatives as suggested by the other members of this forum.
If you restrict the employees from drinking coffee inside the office, there is a possibility that they would step out of the office (normally it is in a group) to a coffee shop or vendor, thereby wasting valuable time. We have noticed that it is more economical to provide additional coffee as compared to the loss of working time.
Worst case scenario - install a CCTV camera in the pantry to identify regular offendors and speak to them in private.
All the best

From India, Bangalore
Dear Chaitra,
I think you are worrying too much for this simple thing.
First of all whenever some thing new is introduced there is always this tendency for excess indulgaence. But this is not going to last long. Over a period of time you will notice that the consumption is going to come down gradually and would return to near normal.
Secondly the vending machines use milk powder which may lead to gastric problems in some persons and this a;so may lead to gradual reduction in consumption.
Lastly I think you should not withdraw the prevelege extended to them which may demotivate employees, instead take statistics and find out how many take one cup, two cups, 1/2 cup , do not at all take tea at all and then arrive at a suitable conclusion. For all you may see this may not extend the total eligibility of all employees..

From India, Maisuru
Dear Chaitra
Find out how much overboard your coffee expense is, send out a circular saying you'll collect Rs 'x' from all employees for the excess coffee every month. - unpopular but workable.
Are they using these breaks to catch up? Consider keeping the machine off for a few hours everyday!
Considering you cant spend on another machine or employ someone to check for tokens/ coupons etc.., I think blackouts and brownouts i.e., the coffee powder loaded in the machine will be limited and it will stop working beyond this ration everyday, would regulate consumption -- much like our power grids!

From India, Chennai
if the coffee culture grows grors beyond a limit probably your employees will start dveloping high BP making additional problems for you . clearly put an end to the overconsumption of coffee. coffee has an intriguing effect on people to make them more addicts to coffee. may your company grow better and not coffee. coffee has other places to grow. all the best.
From India, Kochi

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