Let’s talk about the role of coffee in the workplace.
For many years what our generation calls the ‘water cooler’ was actually the coffee pot. During our parents’ generation, someone in the office would literally brew a pot of coffee and then everyone would go grab a mug’ it was a social atmosphere. Each office had its own coffee ‘rules’ and etiquette.
However, culture has changed.
If you go to a Target or any big retailer looking to purchase a coffee maker, 50% of what you see are coffee makers designed for ‘pods.’ Here is an article suggesting the death of drip coffee makers. So what? Technology changes, right?
Yes, technology changes, but in this case, so too does culture. What is interesting is that pods only brew INDIVIDUAL cups of coffee. Gone is the idea of the pot designed for a group; gone are many of the corresponding social interactions.
Going a step further, many people vacate the office altogether for their daily coffee fix. These people opt for Starbucks or Caribou. If you are one of these people, do you normally go with co-workers, or is your coffee excursion meant as an escape from the office? People talk all the time about how the office is “more collaborative than ever before,” but what are about the quality of office relationships?
Thus, culture changes. Culture is also reinterpreted. Take for example, the portable music device. When the Walkman first debuted in Japan, the Japanese intended it to be a device used to enhance politeness by not bothering other people. On the other hand, Americans primarily use their iPods to ignore and/or entirely avoid human interaction even despite the inherently social nature of music. L Train passengers are an anomaly.
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