Study: Workers Will Return to Office for a Free Cup of Coffee

Free drinks topped the poll of the most desired work perk, followed by required breaks and free food.

The return to office debate remains a hot topic, with many big tech companies going back on the promises of remote work that were made in the pandemic era.

The answer for those anxious office managers that want their physical offices to be a hive of activity and ditch the Zoom calls for good, is apparently free drinks, according a recent study.

But with many companies cutting perks to save money, will it really be enough to get us back to the daily commute?

Beverages the Key to Return to Office

According to new research, conducted by OnePoll, workers aren’t looking for big pay raises or their own parking space to get them back to the office. All they want is a free drink.

Like a piping hot cup of coffee, the research may be a little hard to swallow for workers who can’t imagine giving up remote work, but apparently, just under half (46%) of the 2,050 US workers surveyed stated that the top perk to get them back to the office would be free beverages.

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It’s important to note that the poll was conducted by OnePoll for Flavia, which just happens to be a beverage equipment provider, but there were other top perks named too. The second most desired was required breaks (45%), which was tied with free food.

The ability to bring a pet to work at 36%, ranked higher than bringing a child to work (29%), surely much to the relief of co-workers everywhere.

Hot coffee was named the most popular drink of the working day (66%), followed by iced coffee (47%), and water (45%).

Companies are Cutting Work Perks

At a time when many companies are demanding that workers return to the office, lots are also cutting perks at the same time, which if this research is anything to go by, is a false economy.

The research feels very ironic considering that shortly after his Twitter takeover, Elon Musk not only removed perks for employees (the ones that were lucky enough to keep their jobs), he also auctioned off the coffee machines.

Twitter isn’t alone though. Companies as big as Meta, Google and Apple have all made cuts to workplace pampering this year. Google has recently made cuts to its free food options, which was ranked as the second greatest perk in the OnePoll survey.

Some companies still offer plenty of extras though, despite the harsh cost cutting that we’re seeing this year.

The Return to Office Battle

The push by some companies to get staff back to the office is proving difficult, with employees at Apple and Amazon, for example, up in arms at the demands made on them.

It’s perhaps not surprising. There had been numerous studies into the beneficial affect of remote working, from the positive impact it has on Gen Z, to even living longer.

And yet, each week we’re seeing another company call workers back to the office. Last week it was Delland the mindset among leaders doesn’t look set to change any time soon. There’s no better example than an interview with Musk by CNBC this week, where he stated that ‘People should get off the goddamn moral high horse with the work-from-home bulls***.’

While a cup of joe might be enough to entice almost half of workers back, according to this survey, we suspect that it’ll take a lot more to make the rest of them to return. With tools like web conferencing  making working from home easier than ever, it’s tough to imagine people hanging up their home perks for a drink in a cardboard cup.

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Written by:
Jack is the Deputy Editor for He has over 15 years experience in publishing, having covered both consumer and business technology extensively, including both in print and online. Jack has also led on investigations on topical tech issues, from privacy to price gouging. He has a strong background in research-based content, working with organisations globally, and has also been a member of government advisory committees on tech matters.
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