A new study has brought to light a long-sought answer to the question of what makes Joe Rat more productive. Rats who like to work become more relaxed and less driven after their mid-day coffee, while slacker rats work harder after coffee. So it’s obvious, coffee is the great equalizer among workforce rats. This is important news for those who are contemplating hiring rats, or to be more precise, hiring more office rats. Many workers would say there are already enough rats working in their office. Why hire more? But enough of digressing. The study, published in Neuropsychopharmacology – try saying that fast three times, before your morning coffee - was reported by FoxNews.com this week. Basically the “study found that rats fell into two groups: ‘worker’ rats and ‘slackers’, based on how often they gravitated to high-effort, high-reward activities versus low-effort, low –reward activities. Humans, too, can fall into these groups, and certain health conditions cause a lack of motivation, including depression and ADHD.”
In the rat experiment, it was found that caffeine subdued the “worker” rats while it caused the “slacker” rats to work harder. Since we all know that people respond to stimuli just like rats do, it’s obvious to conclude that hard workers should have anything but coffee during their coffee breaks, but slacker employees should drink coffee so in the remaining work hours they can make up for any morning hours spent “slacking”. Now it is up to us to decide if we’re a worker, one who is motivated to do well and works hard, or a slacker, one who just wants the weekly paycheck and puts in the required hours with minimum effort. Once we know that, all we have to do is determine to improve by either ensuring we get caffeine, or ensuring we abstain from workday coffee, or at least, take decaf. Totally missing from this discussion is the rationale and proof that what’s true for rats is exactly applicable to people. It would have helped if a short study in the workplace -comparing motivated employees to less motivated employees – could have been conducted. Otherwise, the study is just another rat-race scenario involving coffee.