While the health benefits of caffeine are under constant debate and scrutiny, professors at the University of Washington, the University of Arizona and the University of North Carolina have found a new argument in favor of consuming more of the stimulant. According to their research, published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, caffeine can help employees resist pressure from higher-ups do unethical things at work.
Unfortunately for most of us, sleep deprivation is becoming more and more common as workers work more and more hours, the professors acknowledged. And according to earlier research, sleep deprivation increases unethical behavior.
“When you’re sleep deprived at work, it’s much easier to simply go along with unethical suggestions from your boss because resistance takes effort and you’re already worn down,” David Welsh, an organizational behavior professor at the University of Washington, explained in a release. “However, we found that caffeine can give sleep-deprived individuals the extra energy needed to resist unethical behavior.”
In a world where unethical behavior could mean a $6 billion trading loss or even jail time, ensuring ethical behavior should be a priority for workers and employers alike.
So what kind of things should companies be doing to keep workers in line? The researchers offer the following advice:
- Provide free coffee and other caffeinated beverages
- Give workers breaks
- Crack down on overtime
- Let workers take naps!
In other words, go take that late afternoon coffee break. Your boss will thank you for it.