I was in New York for in-person work meetings a few weeks ago. While there were the requisite lunches and cocktails at my favorite haunts, one thing stood out: coffee. My working assumption that coffee is an unremarkable and often undrinkable aspect of working life changed when I realized that it's playing a central role in rebuilding corporate office culture in the new hybrid era.
For employees returning to offices on a hybrid basis, on average three days a week, having a coffee with someone is the perfect way to rebuild relationships with people they haven't seen in possibly three years. As I wrote in this column recently, offices break the isolation and monotony of working from home and yet company leaders have to work hard at offsetting the drag of the commute, especially given the fact that the pandemic showed remote workers could be successful.