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Water Cooler Conversations – Are they Underrated?

Water Cooler Conversation

Getting teams to cooperate with each other is a major struggle. This becomes worse when new members enter the scene. There’s nothing inherently wrong here. After all, the cold hard truth at the end of the day is that people are different and it takes time for us all to start seeing eye to eye. But, the best way to ensure that this happens sooner than later is to allow conversations. However, conversations are not enjoyed within a regulated environment. For people to have a conversation, they need to have an environment that is not seen as stifling. This is something that organisations need to realise – contrary to popular belief, “water cooler conversations” or informal conversations actually play a major role in ensuring connectivity between individual team members. They are not a hindrance as often perceived. The studies prove it Several studies have assessed the role of casual conversations within the organisation and they’ve all arrived at a single conclusion – that casual workplace conversations do more to build teams than previously assumed. For example, one such study determined that almost 70% of work time is spent on communicating face to face and 30% of that communication is composed of informal conversations. In another similar study, it was found that inhibiting casual conversations actually led to a drop in productivity. Casual conversations in the workplace go beyond the socio-emotional aspects of human interaction. They actually, quite often, benefit organisations by creating trust between team members, encouraging knowledge sharing, boosting coordination and collaboration, and demanding accountability. Here are a few other benefits that arise from those “watercooler conversations”. Strengthen company culture A robust company culture is necessary for organisations and businesses to achieve common goals. At the end of the day, your organisation is made up of people and people are social animals. It is almost impossible for a company to grow without allowing better engagement. In order to establish a positive culture, companies must allow employees to feel at home and comfortable. Having the freedom to converse plays a major role in ensuring this. Culture is created through the sharing of common interests and more often than not, those common interests don’t have much to do with organisational objectives. However, organisational objectives are achieved when employees are allowed to come together. Connects remote employees With the number of remote employees becoming common, the need to establish familiarity is becoming a major challenge. However, if organisations can provide the right tools and promote conversations, they can encourage cohesion and maintain the company culture.  

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