What is coffee badging, the new workplace trend as employees return to the office?

Nov 20, 2023

Phrases like “quitting quietly,” “enforced anger” and “the great resignation” have gone viral over the past year and captured the irritation and frustration of some employees as the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted their work-life balance. As companies now ask employees to return to the office, many people are being smart about how they spend their time there. According to a report in Forbes, this has led to the rise of a trend called "coffee badging". 

According to the phrase, coffee badging, employees come to their office, drink coffee, chat with coworkers, and then leave, receiving a figurative "badge" to show for it. This process specifically takes advantage of the notion of arriving at work, swiping your ID badge to verify you're there, and going out for coffee with coworkers. After this, the employees immediately leave the office and go home. This is essentially seen as a protest against recent return-to-office mandates.

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Shockingly, employees have their reasons for refusing to come back to work. People don't want to waste time and money on frequent office visits, and a lot of companies still have "work to do" to create an attractive, efficient, and stress-free work environment that encourages employees to come back. Moreover, now employees don't want to spend time and money on frequent office visits. They would rather just be sitting on the same video calls they could be doing from the comfort of their own homes. 

However, this trend can also have serious implications as it points towards a negative aspect of work culture. Employees will feel that going to the office is a chore and should be avoided. This could create an issue between coworkers – people who spend all day in the office may become angry if they see their coworkers taking unfair advantage of hybrid work rules. Additionally, coffee badging can shorten team meetings and impair initiatives to create a supportive workplace environment.