It gets to 3.30 PM and the mood in the office shifts. Emails are piling like Tetris blocks, the heating is set to prime drowsiness temperature, and it feels like hours until home time. Even Peppy Susan from marketing is looking downcast. There's only one thing for it: "Anyone want a coffee?"
Offering to do the office coffee run can seem like the only way out of a long Tuesday afternoon in front of a screen, but as anyone who has ever ordered seven almond milk macchiatos at once will know, it can also get expensive. Especially when the whole floor's ears prick at the mere mention of free caffeinated beverages.
A new study from Nationwide has attempted to find out exactly how much money we spend on tea and coffee for our colleagues. Surveying 2,000 office workers in the UK, the bank found that people fork out an average of £66.60 (about $81 US) a year on hot drinks for the people they work with.
Here's hoping your work coffee place does a good loyalty card.
Nationwide looked at other costs incurred by British office workers too, such as leaving presents, birthday cards, and charity sponsorships. Overall, this added up to more than £350 a year per person.
Nationwide's Alan Oliver gave a cheery assessment on such moments of coworker bonding. He said: "Working in an office can be an expensive business, especially in big teams. While most people value the camaraderie of working in a team, birthdays, retirements, and charity fundraisers can take their toll on our wallets and purses."
Other food and drink-related expenditures within this were sweets and treats, which totalled £64.32 annually (a price that may go down following recent revelations) and Christmas parties and dinners at £96.48. The second biggest outgoing for office workers—after clothing and bags—was work drinks and nights out with colleagues, which came to £102.24.
Nationwide found that men tend to be unhappier than women about spending money at work. Women, meanwhile, were more likely to feel pressured into paying for items for their colleagues.
So, that explains why Terry never seems to have his wallet when it's his turn to go to Costa.