Just like time well wasted isn’t time wasted at all, idle water cooler chat can be a tool to help wellbeing and productivity in the workplace. Not only are you hydrating yourself, but talking to colleagues in an informal setting helps build company culture, improve collaboration, and facilitate the formation of meaningful connections.

Science tells us that taking short, frequent breaks increases productivity, but your trip to the water cooler can also help you reflect and focus on your day, instead of being on autopilot. Whether you talk about work or non-work related stuff, taking a break from your desk and the computer screen is good for both your mental and physical health.

A water cooler bottle is often the birthplace of many great ideas and solutions, as colleagues gather together and brainstorm in a casual environment. Not only can spontaneity inspire innovation, but it can help bring less social people out of their shells. Introverts may find their time to shine in a less exposed space, and a water cooler is a great place to chance upon colleagues from different departments. Think of it as a communal water hole!

While water cooler chat can help both businesses and people grow, it’s important to distinguish between what’s appropriate for work and what should be left for after work drinks with your friends. Here is a list of simple do’s and don’ts for water cooler talk:

Do’s

• Ask questions. Everyone loves talking about themselves, so it’s a great conversation starter! Plus, it shows you’re interested in them.

• Sneak in a compliment if it’s appropriate. This can be a great way to get in the good books of a colleague you don’t know very well.

• Talk about your friends and family.

• Discuss current events.

• Share your hobbies and interests.

Don’ts

• Don’t discuss pillow talk! Even if you’re usually open about your bedroom antics, your colleagues should remain on the other side of that line.

• Don’t talk money. Don’t ask your colleagues how much they’re earning, and don’t discuss your own financial problems – or successes.

• Try to avoid being a downer… Steer clear of bad news if possible, unless it’s a global affair that’s more ‘current events’ than ‘counselling session.’

• Don’t discuss other colleagues behind their backs. Bonding over a mutual hatred for someone may have worked in school, but that’s where the drama should stay.

• Tread carefully when it comes to religion and politics. An open discussion should always be encouraged, but try to avoid conflict in the workplace.

A water filter cooler can bring people together, so every office should invest in one! You can conveniently buy water filters online and even have them delivered to your door. For all water cooler queries, get in touch with our Big Wet team.