When rolling out back-to-office mandates, some organizations set a minimum number of days employees must work from the office, but many do not dictate how long employees must stay at the office. US workers use coffee badging to exploit that loophole.
Coffee badging, according to Owl Labs, is the method of going into the office for morning coffee (earning a metaphorical badge for doing so) and then returning home to complete the workday. Essentially, employees fulfill the minimum requirement while maintaining flexibility.
Fifty-eight percent of hybrid employees said they engage in coffee badging, according to Owl Labs's State of Hybrid Work 2023 report for which it surveyed 2,000 full-time employees in the US. Another 8 percent of respondents said they haven't coffee badged yet but would like to try it.
The survey reflects employees' hesitance to go back to the office full time. While 66 percent of respondents said they work full time in person, only 22 percent said that arrangement is their preference.