April 29, 2013
Beyond Hydration: The Importance of the (Bottleless) Water Cooler Conversation in The Office
Dwight Schrute, Assistant to the Regional Manager for paper supplier Dunder Mifflin Scranton, is always looking to get ahead at work in NBC’s hit show, The Office. He recognizes that the office water cooler is much more than a place of hydration.
“It’s a real shame. Studies show that more information gets passed through water cooler gossip than official business channels. Which puts me at a disadvantage…because I bring my own water to work.”
Dwight proceeds to move the water cooler directly next to his desk, and asks lingering co-workers to let him in on the water cooler gossip,
“So what do you guys hear? What’s the scuttlebutt?”
Keeping the office healthy and hydrated is the main purpose of a bottleless water cooler, but it is also a hub for office conversation. Boston.com’s Peter Post talks about work etiquette and the importance of office small talk around the water cooler in his piece, “Office Small Talk is Part of Business, Too”. Here are three of his 10 tips:
If another person approaches to join the conversation, be willing to include him or her. Put yourself in their shoes for a moment, and think how you would like to be treated if you were trying to join.
If it’s not a good time to talk, be honest and suggest an alternative time. “I have a report I’ve got to get finished. Can we touch base later?”
What are you talking about today at the office? The weekend, weather, work?
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