Sep 16, 2019

Modern office: Free coffee isn’t enough. It has to be fancy

Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP/Getty Images

No more instant: Picky employees are increasingly driving companies to offer high-end coffee, with demand causing firms to go "a bit more niche and independent," the Financial Times reports.

The big picture: "Dedicated coffee-makers ... are one example of the caffeinated offerings that some companies deploy to keep their employees productive, happy — and in the building."

"Employees expect not just coffee, but high quality ground beans on tap. They will make their voices heard if they’re not happy with this coffee," Glassdoor's Jo Cresswell told FT.

  • Each floor of Goldman Sachs’ City of London headquarters has a coffee bar, including one that serves single-origin coffee.
  • Co-working landlords like WeWork actually brag up their "micro-roasted coffee bar," a major departure from the days of the tepid instant variety.

By the numbers:

  • U.S. "instant coffee sales declined from $949m in 2013 to $817m in 2018," per FT.
  • Fresh coffee sales grew 18% in that period, from $11 billion to $13 billion.

The bottom line: For happy employees, dump the instant and get the good stuff.

Go deeper

GE freezes pensions in latest bid to save cash

Photo: Sebastien Bozon/AFP/Getty Images

General Electric said it will freeze pension plans covering about 20,000 U.S. employees and make other moves to help cut its debt and reduce its retirement fund deficit by $5 billion to $8 billion.

What it means: A pension freeze means employees no longer build up retirement benefits to reflect higher pay and additional years of employment. Employees stop earning some or all of their benefits from the point of the freeze onward.

Go deeperArrowOct 8, 2019

Study: Airplanes possibly giving passengers unhealthy water

Photo: Images Group/Getty Images

Several airlines have reportedly given their passengers unsafe drinking water, according to a new study from the Hunter College New York City Food Policy Center at the City University of New York.

Why it matters: Most of the airlines' water samples tested positive for E. Coli and coliform bacteria. The study also found that when the Environmental Protection Agency does find a violation under the 2011 Aircraft Drinking Water Rule, it rarely implements penalties.

Go deeperArrowSep 21, 2019

U.S. to implement new EU tariffs on cheese, whiskey, other goods

Technicians work on a fuselage segment in the new structural assembly of the Airbus A320 family at the Airbus plant in Germany. Photo: Christian Charisius/picture alliance via Getty Images

The U.S. says it will implement a 10% tariff on EU aircraft and a 25% tax on "agricultural and other products" starting Oct. 18, following a World Trade Organization's ruling allowing the U.S. to impose up to $7.5 billion in tariffs on European products each year.

The big picture: The United States Trade Representative (USTR) and the EU have each drafted lists of at least $20 billion worth of each other's products to tax in response to this WTO decision. Meanwhile, tariffs from the U.S. trade war with China are estimated to cost U.S. households $2,000 each by next year, per the National Foundation for American Policy.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Oct 2, 2019