Some workers say they’re still ‘coffee badging,’ or swiping into work to show their faces before quickly returning home

    Coffee badging refers to workers who swipe in at the office solely to meet return-to-office requirements but don’t do much work there, instead leaving quickly to finish their work elsewhere.

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    Some workers are still “coffee badging” at work in defiance of RTO mandates.Coffee badging means scanning in at work to satisfy attendance requirements and rushing back home.It’s one element of productivity theater highlighted in the debate between remote and in-person work.

    Months after “coffee badging” was coined, some workers are still using the move to avoid having to work from the office … sort of. They’re still going to the office, it’s true; they’re just not spending much time there.

    First popularized as a term by video conferencing company Owl Labs in 2023, coffee badging refers to workers who badge in at the office before going back home to do the bulk of their work.

    They’re swiping their badges to satisfy their return-to-office mandates, showing face to the boss, and connecting to the company Wi-Fi on their laptops to make it known they were there — before packing it all up again and rushing back home to really do their work.

    LinkedIn recently polled people on the subject. More than 1,500 people responded to the poll in June, of whom 19% said they’re still coffee-badging, 31% said they aren’t, and 50% said they’ve never done so.

    LinkedIn doesn’t have a previous poll on the topic to directly compare the results to. But Owl Labs’ State of Hybrid Work report last year found 58% of hybrid respondents reported having coffee badged, and another 8% said they hadn’t but were interested in trying it, compared to 34% who said they preferred working the full day in the office. The survey, conducted in June 2023, included 2,000 adult full-time workers in the US.

    The continued practice of coffee badging highlights the resistance some companies are facing as they attempt to increase office attendance after shifting to hybrid or fully in-person attendance.

    Some coffee badgers say their commute is a waste of time and money, or they’re more productive at home or can better manage childcare there, so why bother going to the office?

    Others say it’s workers’ natural response to employer surveillance methods for enforcing RTO mandates, or it’s another example of the productivity theater that, while certainly not new, has particularly come to the forefront in the debate between remote and in-person work.

    While there don’t appear to be any widely publicized examples of employees being fired for coffee badging, some companies like Bank of America have begun putting employees on notice who haven’t fully complied with an in-office return. Business Insider previously reported that Dell, meanwhile, is implementing a color-coded system to grade office attendance for hybrid workers.

    There are also signs that companies are cracking down on simulated work. In May, Wells Fargo fired multiple employees accused of faking work “after review of allegations involving simulation of keyboard activity creating impression of active work.”

    Are you coffee badging at work, or do you have another work story to share? Contact this reporter from a non-work email and device at [email protected].

    Read the original article on Business Insider


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