Is there really a science behind the water cooler dispenser break?
Employers tend to frown upon office chit chat around the office water cooler dispenser, as they see it as unproductive and time wasting. It’s like the real world Facebook,
where employees go to share stories about the weekend and throw in some baby and vacation pics while they’re at it. So it would seem reasonable for a manager to try clamp down on the practice, right? Wrong.
Science says the bottled water dispenser is good for business
According to a study by the University of Michigan, taking breaks and talking to a colleague for at least 10 minutes can boost memory and performance. The researchers found that those who had a high level of social interaction had increased cognitive functioning. Now, add water to the mix (a substance so essential to performing every human function) and the results can be quite phenomenal.
Making the countertop water cooler a place to discuss work-related ideas
While the findings might give you ideas of transforming the water cooler area as a work only forum, science recommends you not do that. Another study found that discussions ranging from intellectual to social all had the same effect of boosting memory and mental performance. Therefore, what actually matters is boosting social interaction between your employees, and not trying to steer to conversation.
Adequate access to water also essential
The office bottled water dispenser are may not be the only place where your employees convene. So in such situations it might be a good idea to bring the water cooler to the discussion. If you have a meeting room or social area, purchasing a countertop water cooler may encourage employees to drink more while they share experiences. As a result, you won’t have to worry about your workforce suffering from chronic dehydration, which can decrease productivity and increase the rate of sick leave.
Embrace technology to increase socialising
The water cooler dispenser area is not the only place where you can encourage casual chats, however. Embracing apps such as Facebook and Skype can also be a great idea for boosting memory and cognitive performance. Let’s call these the virtual office water coolers, as they also encourage the exchanging of ideas without distracting colleagues who want to concentrate on their work.
Ensuring the office water cooler culture stays alive is as essential to your business as it is for employee wellbeing. Staff need breaks away from their work in order to clear their thoughts, and return to the task with more focus and better ideas. Encouraging them to socialise during work hours for at least 10 minutes every hour could take your company to new heights.