Cup Crisis and The lessons to Management

Let me start the article with disclaimer as the mention of word ‘Crisis’ sends shivers to many.  Cup Crisis is not something bad as Euro zone Crisis or related to it any way.  As per the definition in many organizations, the cup crisis is ‘The phenomenon where there is no coffee (or tea) cups, when you want to have coffee”. Unless you are an avid coffee lover, you will never know the seriousness of this problem.

Let me explain this with an example. You come to office with a splitting headache in Chennai heat. You open the mail box and few mails in it have further intensified your headache. All your body and soul wants is a hot coffee. You rush to pantry to have one. The warm aromas of Coffee beans welcome you. But alas there are no cups to have a coffee and relish it.

Before getting deep into Cup Crisis let’s understand what causes it.

1) Too much work in office:  Suddenly when you are bombarded with work all your mind seeks is More and More of Coffee . Because only during such coffee breaks people form strategy on how (not) to work. More such people in the same state, lesser are the coffee cups.

2) Very Less work: When there is very less work in the office and you have to mandatorily manage to be in office for nine and half hours, all you do is take one hour coffee break every two hours. My guess is more than half the population in office falls in this category.

Other reasons like higher number of broken cups, Inadequate number of staff to wash the stained cups, no stock in purchase department etc also form a significant reason for cup crisis.

Thinking about the positives of Cup Crisis, a sudden thought occurred to me. Why not management try to take critical decisions based on employee’s reaction to cup crisis. Let me explain my thoughts further.

Employee decides not to have coffee anymore in office

According to me, this category of employee is bit low in motivation. For a small problem of not finding a coffee cup, he is forsaking the goal of having coffee. How will the employee react to challenging situations then? Management should keep an eye on this category and consider the possibility of putting them in Performance Improvement Plan

Employee Decides to have coffee in other floor

This category of employee is highly flexible. He tries reaching to different floor and going to different directions to have a cup of coffee. Management can make a note of this category and use them effectively for a so called challenging assignment for which surprisingly there are no takers.

Employee launches a complaint

Fight, fight till you achieve the goal seems to be the motto of this category. They will call the admin department and explain the intensity of the problem. Inaction from the admin department doesn’t deter them. They will make a complaint in writing and will not budge in that till have a coffee cup in hand. Management can use this kind of people to send chaser mails to others.

Employee washes the stained cup himself

This employee goes to any level to achieve his goal. He takes the responsibility of other staff (cleaning staff) smoothly. Management should keep this people handy to deliver that ‘Critical piece of work which should go to client by any chance on Monday morning’

Employee starts bringing his own coffee mug

This category of people are really smart and out of box thinkers. They are the ideal set of people to work in a project which has ‘Very Less Clarity and highly critical deliverables’

Need any further inputs on this? Ping me, let’s discuss this over a cup of coffee.


Remember happiness doesn’t depend upon who you are or what you have; it depends solely on what you think.

याद  रखिये  ख़ुशी  इस  बात  पर  निर्भर  नहीं  करती  कि  आप  कौन  हैं  या  आपके  पास  क्या  है ; ये  पूरी  तरह से  इस  बात  पर  निर्भर  करती  है  कि  आप  क्या  सोचते  हैं .


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