'Coffee Badging' Job Trend Sparks Alarm Among Business Leaders

As companies push for in-person presence, employees are subtly pushing back with 'coffee badging.

'Coffee Badging' Job Trend Sparks Alarm Among Business Leaders

Coffee badging emerges as a coping trend to navigate in-office mandates.

Coffee badging, the post-pandemic protest against mandatory office presence, is brewing concern in the business world. This new tactic involves briefly appearing, clocking in, grabbing a coffee, then vanishing back home to work remotely. This global trend is disrupting work culture, prompting companies to react, even potentially with firings.

As some employees are being called back to the office, many are subtly protesting by returning to the office for as little time as possible, Frank Weishaupt, CEO of Owl Labs in Boston, told FOX Business.

Also Read | Explained: What Is Coffee Badging, New Workplace Trend As Employees Return To Office

"Coffee badging is when employees show up to the office for enough time to have a cup of coffee, show their face, and get a 'badge swipe'," then go home to do the rest of their work," said Mr Weishaupt.

His firm, Owl Labs, which makes video conferencing devices, did a deep dive into the trend's data.

"Our 2023 State of Hybrid Work report found that only about 1 in 5 workers (22%) want to be in the office full time, with 37% wanting hybrid work options and 41% preferring to be fully remote," said Mr Weishaupt.

The study by Owl Labs reveals a potent coffee-fueled rebellion against mandatory office returns. Over half (58%) of hybrid workers confess to "coffee-badging"-clocking in for a morning coffee break at the office, registering their presence, however brief, and then going back home to work remotely.

The trend doesn't stop there - another 8% are eyeing that "imaginary badge" with keen interest, hinting at a potential wave of corporate coffee breaks. This trend seems to be brewing a significant challenge for employers enforcing office policies.

Ways to prevent coffee badging

Experts believe that to counteract 'Coffee Badging,' companies must tackle underlying issues, foster communication, build trust, and enhance workplace attractiveness.

Niki Jorgensen, managing director of client implementation with Insperity in Denver, told FOX Business, "There is no need to panic over coffee badging. Yet if a business finds most of its employees are coffee badging, that could reflect the need to reevaluate their organisation's culture and work-from-home policies."

Ms Jorgensen suggested three fixes for this growing problem:

Implement flex hours: "To encourage employees to spend more time at the office, consider flex hours so they can come in an hour earlier or later," she said.

Encourage employees to get together: Employees want to socialise with one another, said Ms Jorgensen. Given this, "leaders can create opportunities for employees to socialise by planning events over lunch or immediately after hours," she said.

Embrace open communication: Coffee badging can be a symptom of overworked, burned-out, and disengaged employees, Ms Jorgensen suggested.