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Drinking (Coffee) On The Job: Restaurant Workers, Women Lead The Way

For many who work in the food service industry, coffee can make or break their day, according to a new survey. Many scientists and sales reps also said their day suffers if they don't have a cup.
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For many who work in the food service industry, coffee can make or break their day, according to a new survey. Many scientists and sales reps also said their day suffers if they don't have a cup.

Cooks and servers, scientists and sales reps — those are some of the workers who say they do better after drinking coffee, according to a new study. Nurses, journalists, teachers, and business executives also said they're more effective at work if they have coffee, in a survey commissioned by Dunkin Donuts and CareerBuilder.

In the survey of 4,100 workers nationwide, a higher percentage of women than men said their job performance suffers without coffee, by a 47-40 percent margin. Even more young workers said the same thing, with 62 percent of those between ages 18 and 24 saying they need coffee to work, and 58 percent of workers between 25 and 34 saying the same.

Maybe a lot of those young folks are working in the restaurant industry. Here are the rankings by professions:

  • Food Preparation/Service Workers
  • Scientists
  • Sales Representatives
  • Marketing/Public Relations Professionals
  • Nurses (Nurse, Nurse Practitioner or Physician Assistant)
  • Editors/Writers/Media Workers
  • Business Executives
  • Teachers/Instructors (K-12)
  • Engineering Technicians/Support
  • IT Managers/Network Administrators
  • In the survey, 43 percent of workers said they don't get as much done if they don't have at least one cup of coffee. And some don't stop at one cup, as 63 percent of coffee drinkers say they have at least two cups on the days they work. More than a quarter (28 percent) said they drink at least three cups.

    But that's not to suggest all of these folks are just amped up on caffeine, multitasking on the energy they get from coffee. Because in last year's study, the single benefit reported by the most respondents — 20 percent — was that coffee gave them a chance to network and socialize with their peers.

    "There's a reason why coffee is a staple in the workplace," according to CareerBuilder communications vice president Cynthia McIntyre. "Workers report that coffee fuels higher energy and productivity, and serves as a means to socialize with colleagues."

    And coffee has other benefits, such as the much-cited finding that women who drink coffee are less likely to suffer from depression, as a study that was updated last year found. Similar results have been reported for men. An earlier version of that study, in 1996, found an "inverse association" between coffee consumption and the risk of suicide.

    The Dunkin Donuts survey, which is conducted annually, is timed to coincide with National Coffee Day (this Saturday). If you plan to celebrate with a cup, you might want to check out NPR's Allison Aubrey's video on tasting coffee.

    In last year's coffee survey, scientists and lab technicians took the top spot, while third place went to "education administrator." And as was the case last year, the Northeast led the way in coffee consumption this year, with 64 percent of workers in the region reportedly having at least one cup a day.

    Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

    Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.
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