Water coolers are one of the greatest inventions ever, because they afford easy access to clean, great-tasting chilled drinking water virtually non-stop, and being well-hydrated is a pre-requisite of good health.
Initially, many bosses felt that getting a water cooler in the office would lead to employees wasting time standing around the water cooler, but they have, thanks to various studies, come to realise that having access to fresh drinking water and allowing personnel to take short breaks when they feel they need it actually positively affects the health of their employees, the vibe around the office and ultimately the bottom line.
There are, however, some very important dos and don’ts regarding water cooler chats, and if you do not adhere to these you could find yourself in a world of trouble:
Water Cooler Chat Dos
- Sharing interests, hobbies, and passions is a good way for colleagues to get to know each other, so feel free to highlight the great hike you took on Sunday;
- If you are an avid reader, sharing highlights of the story and how reading the book made you feel can make for good water cooler conversation (just don’t give away the whole plot). The same goes for a good movie;
- Share your recent vacation experiences with your colleagues without too many boring details, and show photos if you have;
- Sharing your career and life objectives with colleagues can boost relationships, increase your productivity, and make you accountable;
- Talking about positive experiences you have had with friends or family will give your colleagues insight into who you are as a person; and
- You can freely share news of a co-worker or colleague’s promotion, engagement, new baby, or other positive news.
Water Cooler Chat Don’ts
- Religious preferences should never be discussed at work, as not everyone is religious or belongs to the same Faith;
- Discussing money is considered gauche and unprofessional;
- Do not discuss very personal information such as your sex life with co-workers;
- Do not discuss love-life or other personal problems around the water cooler – save these for discussing with a close friend; and
- Never discuss a colleague’s medical problems, financial problems, marital problems, or other personal problems.