The silly season is basically upon us, but it’s never too early to start thinking about how to make 2019 your year. You spend a lot of your life at work amongst colleagues, but probably not much time thinking about the things you could do to make work a better place to be, right? What a lot of people don’t know is that it’s the little things that go a long way…
Small acts of kindness can have a big impact on workplace happiness. It’s the little things like greeting your co-workers in the morning, holding the door open for them, or offering to get someone lunch if you’re heading out and you know they’re busy. Success in the workplace is very seldom a solo endeavour – healthy, productive relationships foster positive attitudes, a willingness to go the extra mile for others, and ultimately a stronger team. Cliché as it may be, teamwork really does make the dream work!
It’s the little things
One issue that always seems to crop up in any office is the coffee. More specifically, the act of refilling the coffee when the pot is empty. It seems like such a small thing, but the impact it can have is often taken for granted. Think how you feel when you make a fresh pot of coffee in the morning, and come back to an empty one a bit later. Someone actually poured themselves the last cup, and then just walked away. When you’re always the one making the coffee, resentment starts to build, and in some cases, passive-aggressive post-it notes ensue.
The things is, it’s not about the coffee – it’s about thinking of others, and being considerate of the people you work with. Small gestures may not seem like much, but their impact accumulates. So if you want to make work a better place to be in 2019, here are 5 things you can do (besides making the coffee) to improve your workplace happiness…
5 Tips to make work a better place to be
1. Smile. Be friendly. A smile costs you nothing, and makes people feel welcomed. Greet people warmly, and take the time to ask them how they are. Show an interest in their lives.
2. Listen to others’ ideas and opinions. Even if you don’t agree, respect their right to share what they think, and listen attentively. Everyone just wants to be heard.
3. Share praise and gratitude openly and often. Thank your colleagues for their assistance, and praise their achievements. And of course, give credit where credit is due. People want to be recognised for their contributions – make them feel appreciated.
4. “That’s not my job” should never be said out loud. Go the extra mile and help out where you can. Step up, and people will always return the favour when you’re the one in need.
5. Find small ways to brighten someone’s day: bring in cake for everyone, make them a cup of coffee, or write a nice note. Acts of kindness don’t just make other people happy – research shows the effect is positive for the giver as well as the receiver.
2019 is just around the corner – a new chance to implement small acts of kindness, and of course, make the coffee!
From Barista to Business Owner: Sihle’s Brew
When Sihle Magubane was just 16 years old, he was juggling two jobs on top of his schoolwork, as well as taking care of his two younger siblings. A chance cappuccino at the Hilton Arts Festival changed his life…
How did you get introduced to coffee?
“When I was 16 years old, my mother passed away – she was asthmatic. I had to juggle work as a gardener and a pizza maker in Durban at a place called Caminettos. From Monday to Friday, I would attend school during the day and after school, I would work as a gardener in Asherville. One day, I got a call from my friend, who asked if I wanted to make extra money. We worked at the Hilton Arts Festival in KZN. I was helping with cleaning and serving coffee to the guests. I drank a cappuccino for the first time and I couldn’t sleep for four days, but that’s where my love of coffee came from.”
How did you get started in the industry?
“I did not have money to study. But I met Roberto Monterrege from Ciro, and was offered the opportunity to be trained as a barista. He said I would have to relocate from Durban to Johannesburg for the training – so I packed my bags and left after writing my final matric exam paper in 2003. I was trained by Roberto and also worked at different coffee shops until I joined Pick n Pay as a product specialist in coffee, opening all the concept stores. I then joined Ciro Coffee Academy as a barista trainer. The only knowledge I had was coffee, and I decided to excel in it and make it work to the best of my ability.”
In 2012, Magubane branched out to create his own business – Sihle’s Brew. For the last six years, he’s been personally selecting, blending, roasting and retailing beans under his own brand…
What’s the story behind Sihle’s Brew?
“My passion was coffee, so I established my company in March 2012 and am still trading today. I opened the first coffee shop at North Riding, called Sihle’s Brew Barista Love. My coffee brand has been built based on this passion, to create amazing and different taste profiles. I also want to help other underprivileged people, to give them a skill and knowledge of how to run a successful coffee company. My vision is to create jobs and sustainability.”
Tell us about your coffee?
“We source our coffee from the best coffee producers in the world – a mixture of African beans and Central American, from Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Guatemala and Brazil. We have five signature blends of 100% Arabica, including the Original (light chocolate toffee with a hint of tropical fruit) and Signature (dark chocolate hazelnut with spicy note) blends.”
What’s been the highlight of your business journey?
“To serve former president Motlanthe and being one of the top four performing students at Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS), from 2014 to 2015. I had to pull away from the business for two years to study business at GIBS, but that has shaped my business.”
What’s the best part of your job?
“I like to interact with my customers directly, where I meet different human beings and share ideas of how to grow our country’s economy. I believe the coffee scene can grow our country if we work together.”
What does your average day look like?
“My day can start as early as 12am if there’s outstanding paperwork I need to do. But usually I work from the office from 7am to 12pm, and spend the rest of the afternoon looking after customers or events.”
What is your coffee of choice these days?
“An espresso or americano!”
"No More Bad Coffee!" Jayne and Percy of Infood Coffee Society.
By Iain and Mel.
On Thursday 8th November Infood Coffee Society in JBay launched their new Roastery and we, along with most of the town, the Bottomless Coffee Band and select handful of Coffee Professionals turned out to celebrate this momentous occasion on a beautiful summers evening, just a stones throw away from the beach!
The new Roastery is the brainchild of Percy Chikwira and Jayne Davies. "We wanted to open up and make a bigger space where we could roast on our big roaster, have a retail section and even a showroom for some equipment", says Jayne.
As usual, anything significant that happens in JBay usually has Cheron Kraak's golden touch to it. Cheron started the surf brand Country Feeling in SA back in the 70's , soon opened a South African branch of Billabong, a handful of other great surfbrands and grew her surf empire into a multimillion rand business.
"When I bounced the idea of Cheron, she immediately recommended this space and has helped us make it into so much more than we could have imagined"
The space, which was previously the Billabong warehouse, has been transformed into a beautiful little shopping village, with boutique stores, little outlets and, of course, the new Roastery.
The evening was a huge celebration for the community. As we arrived, we found Grant Harrison (Specialty Coffee Exchange) and Shaun Aupiais (Red Band Barista Academy) holding a cupping session for curious guests in the cupping room, which also doubles up as a showroom for espresso machines and grinders.
Next we found the retail section stacked high with coffee goodies, and all our favourite Infood baristas serving coffee, gin, beer and wine to the guests, who flowed out onto the deck towards the ocean and were enjoying the sounds of the Bottomless Coffee Band as dusk settled over the town and the lights of the chokka boast twinkled on the ocean horizon.
It wasn't long before the party was in full swing and an impromptu Latte Art Jam broke out around the brand spanking new San Remo espresso machine, with current EC Champ, Nigel Kamhanda schooling all the contenders, including Shaun, myself and the local talent from the village of JBay.
To all of you venturing on holiday around the Eastern Cape - you really need to do a Coffee Shop Crawl - there is so much to see! From the new Masterton's venue, to the new Infood Roastery - plus if you pick up the latest Coffee Magazine (on sale from next week) - there is a feature on the TOP 5 spots to visit in JBay - including some new hidden gems.
Good luck Percy and Jayne - we know your new spot will be a huge success!
The impromptu Latte Art Jam gets underway on the San Remo.
Yours truly, with my best tulip and Nigel with a beautiful rosetta. Hillary taking notes in the background!
Grant Harrison (Speciality Coffee Exchange), Percy and Shaun Aupiais (Red Band Barista Academy)
Nigel with another creative latte art design for the guests to fawn over and the other baristas to try and beat!
Healthy Summer: Work out while waiting for your coffee
That first cup of coffee in the morning is always worth the wait, but wellness expert, Lisa Raleigh, has some tips for how to make the most of your time spent waiting for your coffee to brew! If you’ve got five minutes to brew, you’ve got five minutes to move!
The Full Body Resistance Band Workout requires just one piece of equipment: a resistance band. Resistance bands are a great training tool, allowing you to add resistance to your workout, wherever you are. The non-gravitational resistance of the band also allows you to protect your joints as you train. And you can do all these exercises in the comfort of your own home while waiting for that caffeine kick – the perfect time to sneak in an upper body workout…
Lunge with Bicep Curl
Stand with your left leg in front of you and right leg behind you. Secure the band under your front foot, holding an edge in each hand. Sink down until both knees bend to 90 degrees, keeping elbows at your sides as you pull hands up to your shoulders. Pause for a moment then rise up to your starting position. Perform the number of advised reps then repeat with the opposite leg.
Stand with feet apart. Hold the ends of the band in each hand, loop it behind your back and stretch arms out to form a T-shape. Keeping a slight bend in your arms, draw hands together in front of your chest. Pause for a moment then stretch back out to your starting position.
Single-Arm Shoulder Press
Stand with one end of your band secured under your feet and the other in your hand, held at shoulder height. Push up above your head until your arm is straight, hold for a moment, then return to your starting position. Perform the number of advised reps then repeat with the opposite arm.
Oblique Side Reach
Stand with feet wide apart. Secure a band under your feet, holding an end in each hand. Lean down to the one side, pulling up the edge of the resistance band on the other side as you move. Straighten back up, then lean to the opposite side.
Two sets of 6–10 reps of these exercises should be enough to let your French Press steep. If you’re feeling energetic, download Lisa Raleigh’s Full Body Resistance Band Workout as a PDF. You can also purchase more of Lisa Raleigh’s workout programmes on her website, for around R20 per programme. They’re great to take to the gym if you’re not sure what to do, or for working out at home!
Healthy Summer: Fit more movement into your day
Sitting too long is bad for your health and your mental focus, we all know that, but what are you supposed to do when you have a desk job? According to health and wellness expert, Lisa Raleigh, it’s how you sit and for how long that really has an impact on your health and overall wellbeing.
Make some changes
To fit more movement into your day, here is Lisa Raleigh’s advice:
1. Set an alarm on your phone to vibrate every hour and remind you to get up and get moving – even if it’s to walk to the bathroom or make yourself coffee.
2. If you’re mostly office- or desk-bound, then utilise your smaller space to move. March on the spot, do jumping jacks, and focus on a few key stretches to alleviate pressure in your neck, back and shoulders.
3. Deep breathing is also excellent as it boosts the brain and stimulates blood flow and oxygen throughout the body.
4. Of course, the most ideal thing would be to have a rebounder in your office and bounce for 2 minutes every hour. This would add up to 20 minutes of exercise if you’re at the office for 10 hours. Rebounding is excellent for boosting the metabolism, burning calories, and detoxing the body through accelerated lymph drainage – which happens with every bounce. It also relieves stress and encourages deep breathing.
5. Consider your set up at work. Is it designed to support your body ergonomically? I recently invested in an innovative sit/stand desk which allows you to sit or stand whenever you need to and change positions frequently at work. It’s great because you can keep moving, support your body and get your work done! See my recent blog post, Sitting is not the new smoking.
6. Finally, consider having standing or walking meetings rather than seated meetings. There’s nothing better than walking and chatting with a coffee in-hand!