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In any office, the tea round is a sacred ceremony which takes place under controlled and carefully planned out conditions. The penalties of making an error can be severe, to say the least.

With the tea round being such an integral part of UK office politics, we’ve come up with a list of top tips to survive the office tea round. Some of which come from experience; be glad we’ve learned this lesson for you…it was a tough one.

1. ALWAYS ask everyone in the office if they want a hot drink, even if they usually say no.

You can bet your bottom dollar that the one time they’re not asked will be the time they either wanted a tea, or want to make a point that they would have wanted a tea if they’d been asked.

2. NEVER mix up mugs that display images of colleagues’ children.

The unique combination of very little sleep and an unparalleled lack of understanding that anyone could possibly ever mix their children’s faces up with another parent’s grotty brood can make this one of the most heinous offences a tea maker can commit.

3. ALWAYS ask your boss, quietly.

Yes, even if your boss has never offered you a cup. Regardless of tip #1, no one likes a brown noser so stealth is key in this task.

4. NEVER ask a colleague’s order more than 3 rounds in a row.

Trust in the tea maker is paramount and can be so easily broken. So if this is the fourth time you’ve made a round today, you need to remember that Janice has decaf green tea with a dash of lemon and that Steve needs precisely 2.75 sugars in his organic coffee with no more than a ‘dash’ of milk.

5. ALWAYS pay your tea fund subs on time.

Yes, it may only be 50p a week but no one is happy to compensate for non payers. The only outcome for subs evaders is a public team ousting from the tea fund. Try and get back in after that, just try.

6. NEVER miss a round when asked.

There is a silent competition going on in every office around the country, every day and you’re probably not even aware that it’s going on. It’s a simple test; who is the most dedicated tea drinker. This isn’t a new challenge, people have been trying to ‘out-drink’ one another for centuries. To stand any chance of gaining colleague respect, you need to stay in the game and make sure you finish every cup.

7. ALWAYS tut if someone hasn’t finished the last one.

Following on from #6, not finishing a cup, and still asking for a fresh one when the round is offered is socially unacceptable. If you can’t manage a full cup, or you’re not dedicated enough to drink it before it goes cold then get out of the tea fund. You’re wasting tea and it won’t be tolerated for long.

8. NEVER let the milk run out. 

It is the last tea maker’s responsibility to alert tea drinkers of the potential risk of running out. A committee will then be assembled to decide who undertakes the valiant task of getting more milk, to the gratitude of all. As the old adage states “woe betide thy who lets the milk run dry”…or something of that ilk.

Follow these cardinal rules and you might just make it out alive. The tea round is such a well respected tradition in the UK, but we’ve put together some things you may not know about the office tea round in this enlightening infographic:


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