The Importance of the Office Tea Round

We asked one of our HR Advisors to share some wisdom about some of the tasks a new starter may find difficult at any new company. Jenny had a quick think before deciding to offer advice on a topic that she finds important yet it's hardly ever spoken about within the office: the dreaded tea round!

Who makes the drinks and what does it say about them?

In today’s working environment most of us will find that we work in an open plan office on a bank of desks with a small number of people. As a new person one of the most important things to get right and understand has to be how the "tea run" works. The way that people work the tea run and the habits that go alongside it really do interest me as a member of HR. You'll find some people who aren't too fussed about getting away from their desks to make a brew but they'll also be the people who want to make it every time just for a quick breather. You'll also find the ungrateful recipients or the fussy drinkers - have a think about which category you'd fall into.

In terms of office politics different offices have different rules. Thinking about where you currently work, what what would it say about you if you got up and only made yourself a brew? What would it say if you offered everyone a drink but was away from your desk for 20 minutes whilst everyone else is dealing with the phones? What if you got mixed up and put three sugars in Dave’s brew instead of a sweetener? It’s a minefield!

The importance of the office tea round

At First Response I’ve sat with the same group of people for many years and I can pretty much guess who will be making the drinks throughout the day. I also find it easy to identify the team members who are likely to sneak off and make themselves a drink and when they're likely to do it. I could also predict who will be bringing my first drink of the day back in my favourite cup and who wouldn’t notice if they gave me one with a chip (note to my teammates: no chips please!).

So what do these habits or quirks say about us?

If we try to analyse our team and their tea making behaviours we could ask if:

  • those who remember the favourite cups show a higher level of attention to detail or simply more awareness towards their surroundings? Or is it as simple as them knowing the person they are making a drink for?
  • the person who brews up several times a day is trying to avoid doing their actual role, helping pick up the team when they see them lacking energy or is just thirsty?
  • the person who only makes drinks for themselves is not a team player? Are they selfish, do they feel excluded from the group or is it that they can’t make a decent drink?

Ultimately for the group of people I sit with I don’t believe the amount of brews we make is an indication of our commitment to First Response's value of Team Player. We all work hard and we are all team players in our own right but it may be something for you to look at with your own team and have a think: what do your brew making habits say about each person?

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