This tip comes from my Cuban friends here in Florida. It is customary in Cuba for any coworker to make a pot of hot espresso, pour it in little tiny shot-sized cups, put a dozen or so on a tray and walk around the office offering the afternoon “pick me up.” I love this tradition! Also known as “Cuban shot” or “Cuban pull,” if you don’t quite have those tools on hand for this specific caffeine-laden expression of appreciation, there are other creative options. What about emptying the vending machine for a selection of popular soft drinks or stock up on high-test carbonation from the store, throw them in your rolling Igloo cooler and stroll the building offering refreshment just when you feel everyone needs an extra boost? A little energy boost helps to get the team through the 4th quarter. An alternative to offering drinks is to offer energy foods like bananas, almonds and protein bars to keep those blood sugar levels even. Studies show that protein can improve our concentration, increase energy, boost absorption of important nutrients, and bolster clarity and creativity.
Did you know that when you drink coffee, the caffeine is absorbed into your bloodstream and then travels to your brain where it blocks the inhibitory neurotransmitter adenosine? When this happens, the amount of other neurotransmitters like norepinephrine and dopamine increases, leading to enhanced firing of neurons. It’s no wonder there are so many studies that show how coffee improves various aspects of brain function including memory, mood, vigilance, energy levels, reaction times, and general mental function!
Many workers today face mental exhaustion and fatigue due to the constant “go go go” lifestyle of our society. There is simply too much to do. Too many emails to read and respond to, too many calls to return, too many items being added to the ever-growing task list. It’s easy to see why many workers’ energy levels start slipping once the afternoon hits.
When employees are properly energized (both mentally and physically), they are more productive, creative, efficient, and perform at a higher level. Encourage your team to take a break in the afternoon to refuel their minds and their bodies. A short snack or coffee break will go a long way in helping them survive and thrive the remaining work day!
This week, I challenge you to prepare your own Cuban Coffee Combine. All you need is a pot of regular coffee and a handful of small cups. Got members on your team that aren’t coffee drinkers? Next time you’re at the store, stock up on soda, energy drinks, vitamin waters, and various tea flavors and offer those instead! You can also collect an assortment of nutrient-rich snacks like trail mix, dried fruit, boiled eggs, mixed nuts, healthful granola bars, and cheese and whole grain cracker packs. The mix of fat and protein in these snacks will help keep blood sugar levels even, which results in a happier (and more energized) employee all-around!
FUN FACT: Americans consume 400 million cups of coffee per day (equivalent to 146 billion cups of coffee per year, which makes the United States the leading consumer of coffee in the world) and more than 29 billion gallons of energy drinks per year!