The workplace can be quite a demanding place that sees us bombarded with deadlines and bogged down by routines as we try to get work done. As a result, we are often in a constant state of autopilot, moving through the motions without taking time to reflect on our work. Such a habit can result in burnout and reduce staff morale. It thus helps to take a break, and what better way to do it than through a water cooler chat?
Want to learn about water cooler chat? Then take a look at this guide from BlueJeans. We'll show you what it is and how it benefits your workplace.
What is a water cooler talk?
Water cooler talk or water cooler chat are conversations that engage when they take a break from work and socialize with each other over a trip to the water cooler or drinking fountain. The setting around the drinking area is often less formal, allowing employees to engage in casual talk and break the monotony of being stuck at the desk all day.
Whereas employers and managers may see it as lazy and getting in the way of productivity, water cooler talks are very beneficial and should be encouraged.
How water cooler conversation can benefit the workplace
Company culture refers to the attitudes, values, and practices that define an organization. Ensuring employees enjoy their time working, learning, and growing is a sure way to improve company culture. Water cooler talks build culture by fostering personal connections, thus establishing a cohesive unit with members that support each other.
No agenda conversations/meetings
Office meetings and conversations are often too formal due to the professional nature of the interactions. Almost all exchanges at the workplace are work-related, especially when interactions are only limited to meetings. Therefore, water cooler conversations offer a much-needed break from the rigid conversations that are often devoid of emotion or personal opinion. Water cooler chats give workers the freedom to freely laugh or casually comment on issues without the burden of having to be formal.
Water cooler chats are exactly like mini-happy hour, allowing people to relieve stress and recharge as they go on with their work. Water cooler conversations, just like happy hours, allow for team bonding as employees interact on a more personal level, allowing them to learn stuff about their colleagues that they could not have known by simply working together. It allows employees to be more open and comfortable around each other, making it easier to collaborate during projects. In some ways, therefore, water cooler chats are like happy hour, just without alcohol.
Office projects often involve working individually, and where there are group projects, interactions often occur in scheduled meetings and consultations. Such rigid arrangements usually do not give members enough time and space to share and exchange ideas that immediately come to mind. The casual and relaxed manner of water-cooler chats, on the other hand, allow staff to share ideas and exchange perspectives without having to undergo all the office bureaucracy. Watercooler conversations can therefore influence new ideas and concepts that may be beneficial to the organization.
Water cooler talks do not deserve the negative connotations often attached to them. They play a massive role in helping employees de-stress, get out of their shells, and get to know each other while building personal connections that make working together easier. Water cooler chats also build company culture and help employees brainstorm and develop innovative and brilliant ideas. The best managers should know that the best ideas are not always generated in boardrooms. It is thus best to establish a set of guidelines for such chats and let employees get on with it.
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