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The Importance of Java to Southeast Asian Start-ups

We’re talking about coffee, not just the Indonesian island

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BY Marishka M. Cabrera - 25 May 2018

The Importance of Java to Southeast Asian Start-ups

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Listen up, Southeast Asian founders. If you want your team to be more engaged during your next meeting, you might want to offer them free flowing coffee.

A new study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology reveals that serving coffee can focus group discussion, boost involvement, and leave members feeling better about their own participation and that of others.

While decades of coffee research revolved around its effects on the individual, the study—conducted by the management school professors of University of California, Davis—is said to be the first on the effects of performance in group settings.

In one experiment, small groups had coffee together for about 30 minutes before discussing an article about the Occupy movement, while other groups had coffee after the discussion. Those who had coffee prior to the discussion rated their experience more positively than the group who had coffee after.

In another experiment, all the participants had coffee before the discussion, except that one group had caffeinated coffee and the other had decaf.

Researchers found that participants who had caffeinated coffee rated personal and group performance more positively than those who had decaffeinated coffee. They also generated more statements in the discussion and expressed more of a willingness to work with the group again.

However, it was not so much the caffeine that did the trick. Researchers at UC Davis pointed to the increased level of mental alertness that the participants had, which became the catalyst for better group work.

In her Inc. article, Kayla Matthews writes, “Businesses should serve coffee in every meeting to make them more engaging, allow more active discussions and provide a forum for innovative presentations.”  

That’s good news for coffee lovers everywhere. But for those who don’t have a particular liking for coffee, there are other ways to boost mental alertness, such as listening to classical music or taking a power nap.

A 2013 study from Northumbria University in the U.K. found that “uplifting concertos from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons” can boost mental alertness.  The findings, published in Experimental Psychology, showed that participants responded faster (and correctly) in a mental concentration task when listening to the Spring concerto than when completing the task in silence.  

A short afternoon siesta can rejuvenate not just the body, but also the mind, as this Inc. Southeast Asia article notes.  The National Sleep Foundation says a 20-30 minute nap can increase short-term mental alertness without leaving you feeling groggy.

Whether it’s drinking coffee or simply squeezing in a short nap during the workday, it will do well for Southeast Asian founders to encourage activities that boost their team’s mental performance.

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