For the most part, coffee has been a staple in the corporate world. From surviving monthly reports to avoiding dozing off while in a meeting, a quick cup has been in most workers’ daily routines. With the impending demand for people to return to work but the persistent presence of hybrid work schedules, a new term referred to as “coffee badging” emerges.
Coffee Badging is a cultural counter-reaction: For the sake of showing up
We have had a chain of new work terminologies popping up ever since the change in workforce landscape amid the pandemic and through post-pandemic. From career cushioning to quiet firing, the onslaught of these new workplace terms continues.
According to a report by Yahoo News, “coffee badge” refers to an employee coming to report physically at work, possibly grabbing a coffee, having a little chitchat with their co-workers, and then leaving. Despite its term, coffee badging does not exclusively mean that one has to grab coffee. This practice is being done to establish a physical presence in the workplace, enabling workers to claim that they had indeed reported physically on-site. As of 2023, 28.2% of workers are in a hybrid work set-up, according to Forbes. This number represents those who might have been presented with opportunities to do coffee badging.
A survey from Owl Labs showed that 58% of hybrid workers have admitted to doing coffee badging. In addition to this, only 34% said they prefer to work in the office for an entire shift. Most often than not, the workers prefer to finish their tasks at home and would just show up for a few hours at work.
Beyond badging in for coffee
Clocking in for hours that you were supposed to be physically at work but failing to complete the hours required can be considered a contract violation. Employers can sanction workers who would only engage in coffee badging, especially if their contract specifies that the employee be present in the office for an agreed number of hours.
Have you heard of this new term called ‘Coffee Badging’?
Recently read about it and it caught my attention.
Coffee badging is actually just a modern echo of the old “clock in and clock out” systems of times past, with a modern twist that points to the rise of flex work and… pic.twitter.com/X6GrKMJJ5y
— Raghuveer (@Straying_mind) November 17, 2023
Management may allow closing out earlier than usual or expected, depending on the circumstances or factors such as productivity. Meanwhile, employees with flexible working hours may leave the site earlier. Others might also be offered flexible hours to save more commute time if they are to work at home or leave early to avoid traffic.
When in doubt, it’s always better to communicate with the management and ask for clarification on workplace terms that aren’t stipulated. It is also a must that employers and employees have a clear understanding of the work contract to avoid productivity and management issues.