Is it Friday yet?
Garfield does not have the monopoly on his dislike of Mondays. No matter what business you’re in, there are going to be weeks that are rougher than others. The smoothness of a week can depend on a lot of factors:
- Did your co-worker finish that report you asked for a month ago?
- Is Kevin in a good mood today?
- Are there enough pots of coffee to get us through the week? No? The next hour…?
As for the coffee……usually not. There’s never enough. It’s never strong enough. The traditional role of the water cooler has been switched to the coffee pot, around which circle the caffeine deprived vultures that comprise the workplace. For Timberline, that scenario isn’t much different. Coffee runs through the veins of the company, only wanting an IV drip to get it into the system faster. There are those at work that you know will make a good pot of coffee, and others that force you to shell out $7 and a tongue twister to get a tall, half caff, soy vanilla latte with two pumps of brown sugar and a quad shot of insanity.
- “John, that looks like tea. Add some coffee!”
- “Who cleaned this pot last?”
- “….you really think that’s been cleaned?”
An Order for Jack? Jack? Oh wait…Jake?
Through the years at any company, personnel will change, the company will grow, and the culture will inevitably shift. It’s up to the employees to take on this shift and foster positive growth within the organization. That’s what two employees of Timberline took on when they began fancy coffee mornings.
Carlie and Jae began at Timberline around the same time, eager to thrive and ready to create friendships and good working relationships with their peers. They realized that during some of the long weeks that others could use a pick-me-up. The easiest and least expensive way to do so? Coffee. More specifically, good tasting, pulled espresso shots and steamed milk.
Taking on the roles as baristas, they brought in an espresso machine from home, bought some coffee, syrup and milk, and set out. It began small, only offering vanilla lattes and Americanos. At the first attempt a few people trickled in, curious as to why these new girls were handing out “fancy” coffee in a concrete pseudo-storage room.
However, people started getting the idea. At 6:45 am, crews would roll in before they headed out to job sites. Office employees would come by, grab a cup, then return 15 minutes later asking for another. Requests were made to start earlier to catch different crews. Some people would show up 15-30 minutes before it even opened. This tradition has recurred about once a month for over a year.
“It’s been good to get more face time with people you don’t get to interact with much,” says Jae, Marketing Manager for the company. “Even though I’m in the field half the time, I don’t get out to every site and don’t always get to meet everyone. Making people coffee with a smile goes way further than a handshake and a forgotten name.”
Reading the Room
The coffee area, now dubbed “The Lounge,” features a donated bar where they have their setup: an espresso machine (purchased by the company after several successful coffee mornings), a steamer, 6 different syrups and plenty of coffee. Teas have been added for employees who don’t partake in the coffee addiction that has flooded the nation. Employees can now get cold brews, mochas and double shot Americanos. If requested, flavored steamers are also readily available. There are a few brave souls that wish for just a shot of espresso to get their day started. May their heart rates rest in peace.
Carlie and Jae started pulling in participation from others. Employees were asked if they wanted to donate elements to make the space cozier – some of the items included extra mugs (who doesn’t have at least 20 more than they need?), books, couches, a dartboard and a ping pong table. Friendly matches often start while waiting on drinks, livening up the mornings and brewing positive interactions between departments, bosses and coworkers.
These events have also helped spread information about upcoming events and pertinent tasks for employees. “We’ve done coffee mornings around benefits season, when we’re shifting things around 401k accounts, and before other barbeques and such,” says Carlie, the HR Generalist for Timberline. “It’s a good way to remind people to get their paperwork completed or answer any questions they might have about it.”
Employees have become so attached to coffee mornings that they have even called in orders before they get to the office if they know they’re going to be a little later. Others have lamented that they forgot and were unhappy to miss it, eager for the next time they could get their fill.
These ladies have built a strong friendship together, optimism amongst their peers and a constructive culture in the workplace, solely around a cup of coffee. Once a month, employees gather at CJ’s Coffee & Tea House in The Lounge at Timberline Headquarters for a taste of camaraderie.