Water Cooler Talk: They’re Kind Of A Big Deal
You’re probably familiar with the phrase “water cooler talk:” leisurely conversation and friendly exchanges between colleagues that take place around the office water cooler. Why the water cooler? It could be because the bathroom is too awkward. Your desk- too obvious that you’re not working. The kitchen- you’re too busy looking for munchies. But the water cooler is perfect. It’s against the wall, away from it all, providing a purified fountain of deliciously cooled h20. And the best part? There’s nothing to do while drinking your water but hang out. Talk. Chat. Laugh. Share.
That may seem like the opposite of “productive,” but it’s these upbeat, social interactions that separate good offices from great offices. These social dynamics surrounding your water cooler, or “water cooler talk,” are what create the whole team environment. A quick pitstop to stretch, talk, refresh; it unifies the people in your office. Conversation happens. More people start gathering around. Like moths to a flame, employees are drawn to fun in an office that otherwise drains them. Without a designated place to socialize, you just have a bunch of strangers in a room together. It’s the water cooler talk that pulls them together.
The water cooler is the classic, conversation piece for every workplace. Everyone whose anyone gathers ‘round. You’re all refreshing, quenching your thirst after a rough meeting, and most importantly – socializing. Socialization is one of the key elements of a productive workplace. If your employees aren’t socializing to a healthy degree, they’re miserable. Sure, they have a lunch break. But they won’t be going out to lunch together if they can’t solidifying friendships in the office. Employees need a spot to get up, grab a drink, and laugh with someone about their latest client. This is how a sense of fellowship forms in the office. It stimulates energy. It builds bonds. It gives your employees a relaxing reprieve from their busy day.
Quenching Thirst And Human Needs
People have a natural inclination to want to connect with other people. Your employees have a natural inclination to want to connect with other employees. Whether it’s a chat about the Phillies game, or a venting sesh about new office policies.. Sometimes people need an ear, or a friend, or a joke that keeps them smiling all day. Deprive them of that and you’re depriving them of joy. Of basic human needs. The water cooler is their safe haven away from working hell.
Believe it or not, there are actually courses that teach water cooler etiquette and provide appropriate topics. Younger employees especially take water cooler conversations very seriously. It’s their time to prove themselves, to learn about their superiors, to make good impressions, or maybe just to make a friend.
Location, Location, Location
Water cooler talk can’t take place anywhere but around a water cooler. There needs to be a space, an island, a spot removed from business air. There are few other places employees can go to chatter without being shoo’ed out by a boss. Around a water cooler, they can nurse that time, sip on their cup; for as long as it takes to get a good laugh in, or an angry mood out, or until the conversation flow reaches it’s end. The point is, people come together, and then they disperse feeling refreshed. There are exchanges of stories, feelings, personal opinions and all things that get your brain working in directions other than completely linear.
If you expect your employees to venture outside for all their socialization, you’re probably going to have some bitter employees on your hands. If they constantly have to lock themselves in a boardroom to exchange exciting news, they’re creating an exclusion from the office environment. The objective of water cooler talk isn’t to initiate gossip; it’s to share and build a sense of camaraderie in the office. When there are no bonds in your office, there is no fuel for anyone or anything. Do you want your employees to be driven mad? Let them cool off. Let them hang out. Let them relax and be themselves, and you’ll have a more integrated, motivated and enlivened workforce.
Ready to put the water cooler in water cooler talk? Call a Quality Express representative now, and start bringing your team together. Call 866-452-8228, or click below, to get some conversations flowing within your company!