For Factory Workers

A staff-friendly work culture
Work culture refers both to structure and the atmosphere in a place of business. In this instance, let us focus on the latter. Most factories are run on the principle of productivity above all else. This borrows heavily from the strict approach taken by factory owners during the industrial revolution. Workers were worked to the bone, paid a pittance, and penalized heavily for any errors or shortcomings.

Understandably, productivity is crucial. Nevertheless, a hostile work culture that drives staff like slaves is inhumane and reflects terribly on your company. As opposed to forming all your policies based solely on numbers and targets, take a moment and consider that your workers are human. They get tired, have bad days, and can make mistakes despite their best intentions. Create a work culture that balances these factors against productivity.

Fair shifts and remuneration
The truth, however, is that their work hours are often much longer than that and sometimes for even lower pay. Moreover, their contracts mostly have no medical insurance or work benefits. As a result, such employees are forced to work multiple jobs to make a liveable wage.

The challenge is not so much that your staff would have to work multiple jobs but rather the effect that it has on them. More jobs mean fewer hours of rest and subsequent fatigue. Keep in mind, these are the very people that you will entrust with heavy machinery at your factory. A lack of medical cover and possibly job security further makes staff anxious and stressed about their well-being or that of their families.

Make an effort to pay your staff as well as you possibly can and remunerate them at competitive rates for overtime. Go even a step further and ensure that they have access to healthcare and that their on-the-job insurance is taken care of. All factors indicate that when workers are cared for, their output is far better and you would experience little to no staff turnover.

Safe working conditions
Manufacturing processes typically involve high heat, sharp tools, high-risk chemicals among a myriad of other risks. This is a big contributor to the health complications that factory staff suffer later in life. Additionally, with the increased uptake of robots in manufacturing, more firms are seeing a rise in human-robot accidents.

Given a choice, no one would willingly show up at a job where they risk being decapitated, burned, or exposed to carcinogenic materials. Yet, factory workers do this every day to earn a living. The least you can do is make your factory safer for them by:

Ensuring good air quality in the factory space
Investing in collaborative robots that are built and programmed to safely share workspaces with human beings.
Providing staff with safety gear, evaluating the gear for compliance regularly, and ensuring that it is comfortable for them.

Emergency response systems
Sometimes, despite everyone’s best efforts, accidents are bound to happen. With this in mind, engage your team and other relevant experts in creating safety response protocols. This could include safety drills, regular safety training, and or first aid skills.

Another angle to this would be emergency shutoffs. Running machines, conveyor belts or pipelines could easily turn a bad situation into a catastrophe. Installing easily accessible switches to turn them off would be a great solution. For pipelines, a valve, such as a trunnion, that provides a tight seal even in high pressure would be ideal. Aim for a trunnion ball valve supplier that can customize the valve to specifically fit your factory systems.

Opportunities to advance
One of the leading causes of low job satisfaction among factory staff is the lack of room for growth. Take a production line worker for example. They spend hours on their feet and perform physically demanding labor. Aside from the fact that such work is repetitive and unrewarding, this likely means that as they age, they will be unable to keep up.

Creating opportunities for staff to advance to higher levels of management and other operations would be very motivating for staff. It gives them a way to increase their pay and graduate to other levels where they could serve for longer even with age. You could achieve these through promotions and hiring for higher positions in-house.

For Barista Workers

1. Purpose & passion
It’s difficult to stay motivated with long-term goals for your barista career, so give yourself a daily purpose. Maybe you could pour 3 new patterns today, aim to get that perfect shot of espresso, or even try a new cold brew technique. Having an aim that excites you helps you fight those blue days we all struggle with.

Struggling to be passionate about your goal? Feeling dejected by your failure to master that one piece of latte art? Remember, we’re a reflection of our environment. Surround yourself with positive friends. Use social media to get in touch with other baristas. See what they’re up to, ask lots of questions, and let their passion inspire you when you lose focus.

2. Advanced training
Like with any skill, it’s not enough to just love coffee—although that’s an important start! You also need to learn about it. I recommend dipping into harvesting and roasting as well as brewing; this will give you a much greater appreciation of coffee.

While the internet has lots of articles and videos, they should augment your real-life coffee studies rather than replace them. Find a popular and reputable organisation that offers training. Seek mentors that won’t just teach you about coffee, but will also push you to challenge yourself and help grow your barista career.

3. Human exposure
Yes, this means you need to interact with other people like you! I’ve met some amazing baristas who are the life of the party, and then I’ve met some baristas who, well, seem like they need to start drinking what they’re serving. Guys, we can’t improve in a vacuum. Other humans are our motivation, our resources, and our friends. Their perspectives help us learn; their passion can fuel ours.

Surround yourself with other baristas and coffee lovers. Get involved in local coffee tasting evenings. Volunteer your time at the local barista competitions—or compete! Nothing like this around you? Gather a group of friends with similar barista career goals as you.

4. Workspace
A good workspace should have everything you need, and also be set up in a way that facilitates a good workflow. Make sure all your equipment is present, easily accessible, and in an organised setup. Check there’s enough room for you and other baristi to operate comfortably. A poor environment can slow us down, both when we brew and as we push our boundaries.

Oh, and don’t get complacent! Keep an eye out for new accessories and equipment that could help you develop your barista career. Make sure not to just cram them into your workspace. Reorganise the whole area if need be, so as to ensure your new tools help you rather than add stress and discomfort. And remember, there’s always room for improvement!

5. Attitude
Ever gone into a coffee shop with amazing coffee and snacks, only to have the experience soured by a barista in a perpetual bad mood? There are two fixes to this. If you’re the barista, ask yourself why you’re unhappy and fix it—whether that means asking for a hug or drastically changing your life! If you’re the customer—and you regularly see this barista in a bad mood—try asking them how their day’s been. Maybe all they need is a friendly face (or even a friend)!

The baristi make or break the coffee shop environment, and an unpleasant atmosphere just doesn’t do justice to a great product. From that grumpy air deterring people from asking questions about the coffee to the poor service making people rush off, it can really negatively impact the coffee shop. And of course, the reverse is also true—great service can increase interest in specialty coffee and lead to returning customers.

6. Never stop learning, no matter where your barista career goes
Whether you’re a national champion, an award-winning latte artist, or just a great barista, there’s always more to learn. Sometimes we can feel that we’ve already reached the top of our game. It’s tempting to reward ourselves for our rigorous training schedule with a little pride and some rest. You might think: I’ve worked so hard; haven’t I earned it? Don’t I deserve it?

The problem with that question is that you’ve worked so hard, you deserve better than complacency. Complacency is dangerous. If we lost focus, we could end up getting sloppy as our training becomes more relaxed, missing the chance to learn from an even better barista, or—perhaps worse—stop learning new techniques. Remember, even if you’re the World Champion in something, it doesn’t mean you’re the world’s best at everything—especially with coffee. Specialty coffee is innovative; there are always new techniques for you to learn.

7. Give back
Not everyone wants to give back, but I find that sharing my gift and helping others improve inspires me to become an even better barista, trainer, and coach. I love coffee, but helping others love it grows my love even more. There’s a little more of that precious motivation!

There are lots of ways to give back. You can train others in person, create useful YouTube videos or Perfect Daily Grind articles (hint hint), or even use your coffee talents to raise money for good causes. Do whatever works best for you.