SNEAKY New Office Tactic EXPOSED

Hybrid workers—those who largely work from home but are required to show up to the office to meet with co-workers, managers, and subordinates—have figured out how to avoid office time as much as possible. It’s called “coffee badging.”

Coffee badgers only enter the secured office facility—”badging in”—to serve required time. They may do so for meetings, or just to have coffee in the break room for an hour or two without ever doing any real work, and then return home where their real work is done.

The new term for this behavior achieved popularity through a 2023 report issued by Owl Labs, a video conferencing company.  The report surveyed 2,000 full-time workers in the United States. Fifty-eight percent of the hybrid employees surveyed said that they were “coffee badging,” while a further eight percent indicated that they were considering the strategy.

Given the popularity and seeming permanence of hybrid work arrangements, coffee badging is likely to persist indefinitely as a time and workload management strategy. Linkedin news recently published a survey of 1,568 users, in which 19% said that they were doing the “coffee badging” thing.

One of the coffee badgers is an IT project manager in Chicago named Amanda (who asked that reporters withhold her last name). She said that at her company, which has a hybrid work policy, managers have been clear that badge swipes at security checkpoints are being used to build so-called “badge reports,” which track the number of people who use the office in a given week or month.

While Amanda has not been talked to about her attendance record, she is keenly aware that her swipe record could be used against her in a performance review should her bosses grow dissatisfied with the quality of her work. This awareness has inspired diligence about facing her commute as a form of preemptive defense. She stays for four hours every time she goes into the office, and admits that being tracked in such a fashion makes her uncomfortable.