It’s one of those small things that are a big deal in offices. A cup of tea (or coffee in some places) in the morning and mid-afternoon is a common serving in many offices in Kenya, seen as a move to offload tension and supply supplementary energy to workers.
That’s why most offices are often full house at tea time: that cup of tea is an unmissable ritual for many employees, including managers.
Yet this small give-away by employers is becoming a target for cost-cutting. The latest company to cut down on office tea is Family Bank, which today announced it had temporarily put on hold the provision of afternoon tea for its employees to reduce costs.
According to a circular to staff by Procurement and Logistics officer, Muchane Ndung’u, the bank would only provide its staff with morning tea. “Beginning today we have suspended company sponsored afternoon tea and only morning tea will be served,” said Mr Ndung’u.
“We have had to make some very hard choices. We have been forced to re-look every one of our cost lines and re-evaluate where we can make further reductions to restore the bank back to profitability.”
Knowing the emotions such a move would elicit, Mr Ndungu asked Family Bank workers to volunteer ideas on how to further cut costs to help he bank increase revenues and profitability. “Please contact me so we can discuss how ideas can be implemented. It is imperative that we get back to profitability as soon as possible.”
The lender reported a Ksh492 million net loss for six months to June 2017. This was due to a 50 per cent reduction in interest income and an increase in bad loans. Last year, Family Bank has announced tlaid off over 200 workers through voluntary early retirement to reduce operating expenses.
Family Bank become the second company to target office tea for the chop. Radio Africa in April last year introduced an automatic tea machine to serve its employees with a limit of only one cup per day, from the initial two, as it moved to further cut costs after laying off over 50 employees.