Coffee is a necessary part of most workplaces, so coffee makers often become the hub of several discussions. This is similar to the ‘water cooler talk’ that’s so common in many offices—and it’s just as important.
This might surprise some people, but talk around the coffee maker might be essential to company culture. At a glance, it may seem like coworkers are simply gossiping while sipping coffee. However, these seemingly idle chatting sessions are a part of networking that can result in progress, development, and several networking opportunities for all parties. Here are just a few ways in which talking around the coffee maker can benefit a workplace:
An Efficient Way of Catching Up
Coworkers spend a major chunk of their day with each other, so friendships are quite common within a workplace. This is good for morale, but friendships might also take up a lot of time.
When people are just chatting around the coffee maker, however, there’s a time limit to their interactions. They might sit there and talk while sipping their coffee, but an empty cup signals that it’s time to go back to work. The conversation ends without awkwardness and each party can return to work, hopefully refreshed and ready to give it their all.
To sum up, coworkers can’t always go out for long lunches or even hang out after work every single day. When they have a few minutes to catch up with their colleagues, however, there’s a sense of camaraderie and teamwork without compromising on work hours.
Improves the Environment
Allowing employees to have an occasional chat while they get their coffee makes the workplace seem more casual and friendly. Many times, the austere environment of an office might demotivate those who work there or even those who come in for an interview or internship.
When people see that there are casual interactions and a nice office rapport between co workers, they’d be more inclined towards becoming a part of that culture. Everyone has social needs that they need to fulfill somehow. With work hours being such a major part of our lives, it’s only natural that some of these needs are fulfilled at the workplace. This is why even stellar employees might choose to work for lower pay for the sake of a friendly environment. Employee engagement will also make individuals more productive and motivated, which in turn benefits the company.
Enable Approachability and Transparency
There’s usually a kind of hierarchy in every workplace, even if it’s a tiny startup with everyone in the same age group. The managers or supervisors might seem unapproachable to general employees if there’s no casual interaction between the two parties. This is why it’s a good idea for everyone to drop their inhibitions and gather around the coffee maker at some point during the day.
This small and short gathering might be an oasis of relaxation within those stress-filled workdays. Everyone has deadlines, pressure, and quotas to fill, but they also need to step away just for a few minutes. In that time, having informal conversations with their superiors will help them develop better work connections. This enhances the trust and bond between the people who make an organization work; the result will hopefully be smoother operations and better communication.
What starts out as idle chatting might actually be a very beneficial practice for any workplace. When we’re stuck in our little cubicles, we rarely have proper communication with our coworkers outside of the conference rooms. Getting out of these cubicles for some time leads to the sharing of ideas. What’s more, you’d know which people in the workplace can contribute toward making these ideas come to life.
Plus, employees who are in different departments will be able to reach out to each other, collaborate, and help out where needed. This eloping could be something simple, such as sharing a certain file or extension. It could also lead to something bigger, like brainstorming solutions for dealing with difficult clients etc.
Eases the Flow of Conversation
When you’re sipping coffee with your coworkers, it’s easier to initiate conversation and get things going. Without something to do, these interactions might feel forced and awkward. A cup or mug of coffee in your hand gives the impression of normalcy and takes the pressure off. As a result, many people might even feel more comfortable discussing their future goals, current issues, and other topics.
This ease could even help managers and other figures of authority decide which employee is qualified for a better position. Since they’d get to know everyone better with the coffee and chatting sessions, they would also know which person to keep an eye on for a promotion or transfer. With such practices, the career path of several individuals will hopefully become smoother.
A Productive and Inclusive Break
We all need a break from work every now and then. Even the most focused of employees doesn’t want to look back on the day and feel like they were just operating on autopilot. Some may also struggle with certain problems at work and need a short break in order to refresh their minds.
Of course, there are cigarette breaks allowed in many workplaces. These give coworkers a chance to mingle, build connections, and get several of the benefits we’ve already talked about. However, smoking is not a healthy habit; this practice also excludes those who don’t smoke or those who are trying to quit.
When we take most of our breaks around the coffee maker, though, it’s an inviting circle that can let anyone in. Even if one colleague is more of a tea drinker or just wants some water, there’s nothing stopping them from entering the conversation. Coffee also has several health benefits, so it’s a win-win all around.
An Increase in Respect
It’s tough when you’re at the top in a workplace. Many offices and schools have one or two managers and several employees. The people in authoritative positions might have several perks and better pay, but they do miss out on the everyday social interaction that makes a workplace fun. What’s more, they might also find it difficult to manage employees and make sure that everyone does a good job.
The answer to these issues might also lie in the coffee maker. When managers talk to their employees in a casual setting like this, they’re also gaining everyone’s respect and trust. At the end of the day, everyone is looking for an environment where they can minimize their stress. Knowing your authority figures and not being afraid of talking to them is an important part of this goal.
While employees may talk more frankly to managers who drink coffee with them, they would also be more likely to stay respectful. Once the manager, supervisor, or boss shows that they won’t be policing or disciplining anyone, the employees would even enjoy having them around.
When you’re talking to your coworkers around the coffee maker, not every topic is related to work alone. These sessions will help them relax and establish better relationships with their colleagues. The chats may be informal, but they will positively impact the atmosphere in a workplace, increase productivity, and boost employee morale. All of this will benefit both the individuals and the company as a whole.