Water Cooler Worries

What is a water cooler conversation? Dictionary.com states that a water cooler conversation is an “informal conversation among office staff.” I believe that the word office is not needed in this definition because informal conversations take place in retail and factory work the same way that they would in an office setting.

What drew me to this topic was that this was brought up as an issue in a recent review of my company’s policies. We may have misused the definition of the topic, our problem was hallway conversations. Two employees would see each other in the hallway and they would talk about a current conversation and move on, but everyone else on that project would be left out.

This is not the typical issue with water cooler conversation. Most of the places that I looked, water cooler conversations were viewed positively. Talking to other employees allows people to recharge their batteries, build relationships and if used correctly can raise work place morale.  When the conversations are negative about other employees or if major negative news about the company is delivered with this method, the workplace morale can be drastically brought down.  Overall in general I believe that water cooler conversations are good for companies and can be beneficial for employees.

By Zach Walker, Mechanical Engineering Technology- Purdue College of Technology

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