Software makes it easy to organize workplace coffee run

WASHINGTON — Organizing and executing an office coffee run is a thankless, but necessary job at many workplaces.

New, easy to use, free software streamlines the process of gathering orders from coworkers, and provides the person heading to the coffee shop with a single list.

The inventor of CoffeeRun says his software was borne out of frustration and necessity.

“I work in a London tech firm, so we’re all powered by coffee, but sadly there’s only instant coffee available in our office, and there are quite a few of us that like real coffee,” says James Hutton.

Hutton says tracking down his coworkers and scribbling their orders makes him hate when it’s his turn to retrieve the coffee for everyone.

“I find it can be a hassle, I forget people’s orders” says Hutton. “I wanted an easier way to collect everybody’s orders, and I figured there had to be an app, but there wasn’t one that did what I wanted it to do.”

CoffeeRun is a single-page application, or SPA — a web application that fits on a single web page, with the goal of easily accomplishing a single task.coffeerunscreen

When a person enters the application, he’s presented with one box to fill in and two drop-down selectors.

“You enter your name, how many cups you’re willing to buy, and when you’re leaving, and that generates a coffee run page just for you,” says Hutton. After pressing Start Run, “You send the link to your team members and they can put in their orders.”

When coworkers click on the emailed link, names and orders populate the screen of the person making the run.

If you snooze, you lose, says Hutton.

“If you’re only willing to buy six cups of coffee, as soon as six cups are ordered, that coffee run is closed.”

The organizer prints a single page, with orders neatly organized.

Hutton says response to this software has been surprisingly strong, and he hopes to eventually build a mobile app.

He’s already envisioning an upgrade to CoffeeRun — a way to eliminate collecting money and dispensing change.

“My idea for version two is to make that automatic,” says Hutton. “Maybe use PayPal, so as soon as you place your order you automatically transfer the money to the guy doing the run.”

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