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"Coffee Badging": New Way for Employees to Limit In-Person Work

Some employers have demanded that their employees come into the office. Some employees are coming in, but just for a few hours. These limited appearances in the office are called "coffee badging." According to Owl Labs, more than half of hybrid workers admit to doing it. They come into the office for their morning coffee, earn a "badge" for attendance, and then go home to work for the remainder of the day. Men are more likely than women to show up and leave the office early.

An employee interviewed by CNBC says she goes into the office from 11:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. a couple of times a month. This schedule allows her to catch up with her co-workers but make it out before the traffic going home gets bad. She states that she is more productive working at home. Coffee badging allows employees to get collaboration time in the office, with some employees using it just to show their faces. The practice gives employees the flexibility they seek around work. Office attendance policies may specify only the number of days employees must show up, not the number of hours. A working parent interviewed by CNBC finds "coffee badging" helps her manage parenting and the demands of being a student. She goes to her office in the morning three days a week, then leaves at lunch to pick up her child from school. She continues working once she gets home. The employee says she likes both going into the office and working from home.

Meta, Google, Amazon, and JPMorgan Chase are cracking down on the practice of badge swiping by employees. Owl Lab's owner asserts that a culture of accountability and leadership is needed to set the right tone to measure productivity.