(KTLA) — As more employers require their workers to return to the office in post-pandemic America, a quiet revolution is taking place.
It’s called “coffee badging,” and it looks something like this:
An employee shows up at the office in the morning, maybe grabs a cup of coffee, openly schmoozes with co-workers, and then quietly slips out to work remotely for the rest of the day.
“This is one trick employees are using to protest the end of remote work flexibility and those hybrid schedules,” said KTLA consumer reporter David Lazarus.
According to Forbes, white-collar employees who “coffee badge” feel forced into a time-consuming and often expensive work commute.
A recent report by Owl Labs, a videoconferencing solutions company, showed that the practice “is more popular than one might think.”
Of the 2,000 full-time U.S. workers surveyed in the report, over half — 58% — admit to coffee badging, with 8% more saying they haven’t tried it but would like to.
Additionally, 29% of hybrid and remote workers said if they could no longer work from home, they would expect a pay raise to make up for their commute costs.
“Employees spend an average of $51 per day when they go to the office, which is $408 for hybrid workers (8 days/month) and $1,020 for full-time office workers per month,” Forbes reported.
Commute time is also a factor, with 33% of workers spending 31-45 minutes commuting one-way, according to the Owl Labs report.
In the meantime, managers have gotten wise to such practices and have begun to monitor employees more closely. Forbes reported that some even employ the controversial practice of using “spyware” software to keep tabs on worker activities, something that raises privacy and trust concerns.
Some of the most common types of monitoring methods, Forbes said, include employee monitoring software installed on worker computers and devices, time tracking software, workplace video surveillance and GPS tracking of employees’ location.
In a more incentivized approach, some managers are rewarding employees for returning to the office. According to the annual CEO Outlook survey by KPMG, a global professional services firm, 90% of CEOs say they would likely give raises and promotions to those who do.