“What’s the water cooler chat at work?”
That’s a sentence that’s as old as, well, water coolers at work. While modern workspace layouts have moved away from cubicle farms to more free-form spaces that lend themselves to more communication and collaboration, there’s still a place for the water cooler.
Of course the [obvious] physical benefits of drinking water are first and foremost why you should have a water cooler at work, but all of the ancillary benefits should not be forgotten either. We’ve gone over the physical benefits of water a lot in this space, and we will again because it’s something we believe in so strongly. Simply put, drinking lots of water is good for your brain, your body, and your overall well being. Workers who are well hydrated and refreshed are better workers than those who aren’t.
So what about those ancillary benefits? We’re glad you asked, here are 5 [Unobvious] Benefits of Having a Water Cooler at Work (that have nothing to do with the physical benefits of drinking water).
A Water Cooler Encourages Company Culture
A strong company culture is often overlooked when assessing the successes and failures of a business. It shouldn’t be. A positive vibe and a strong sense of “team” go a long way toward success. It’s sort of like a successful athlete who may not be the biggest or run the fastest, but has success because of their great intangibles. You can’t really measure a “company culture,” but you certainly know it when you see it. Aside from the physical benefits of a water cooler, it also serves as a gathering spot for co-workers to catch up on each other’s day-to-day lives. It brings them together in a social environment rather than a working one. That might sound like a small thing, but it’s not. A team that knows one another and cares for one another leads to a positive company culture and gives your company a better chance at success.
Encourages Casual Facetime with Management
In many companies, there are those with offices and those without. Often the communication between managers and those they manage is hindered by a lack of communication. A water cooler can provide a relaxing, casual atmosphere where managers and those that report to them can talk about life outside of work. Again, this may seem like a small thing but creating a stronger relationship between co-workers will always lead to a more productive team.
It Brings Employees Together
There are a lot of businesses where, for the lack of a better term, “the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing.” This isn’t necessarily a bad thing and is often unavoidable. Sometimes different departments are in different areas, or manufacturing floors are separated from offices. A water cooler brings together employees who may not see that much of one another. Sure, workers can all be connected via computers, but actual face time gives nuance and body language to interactions which can be invaluable in forming a cohesive team.
Everyone Needs a Time Out During the Day
Most workplaces are filled with pressures. Deadlines, presentations, sales, producing results, etc., wherever you work there is more than likely some type of pressure. A water cooler can provide an oasis of calm for any staff. Everyone needs to walk away from their desk every once in a while to get recharged. A water cooler provides an ideal setting to relax, catch up with co-workers and get reinvigorated for a work project.
Water Cooler Talk Improves Employee Engagement
How long is your work day? Eight hours? Nine? Ten? Look, everyone loves a grinder, but it’s a little much to expect workers to stay on task all day, every day. In fact, that’s probably a bad business plan. Effective workers need to be able to decompress throughout the day. Employees who know they can do just that at the water cooler every once in a while will become more engaged employees. People want to produce for employers who are looking out for them. A water cooler provides refreshment both physically and mentally.