After all these years, the water cooler is still a sure constant in the majority of workplaces across the world. Whether your workplace is large or small, the chances are you’ve got a cooler of some kind, dispensing fresh, cold, maybe filtered water into your cup whenever you feel like a break from your station.
Yet the office water cooler has come to mean so much more than that. Its now a classic symbol of the workplace buzz and a must-have essential for any business.
Check out the main reasons why the water cooler is now regarded as such a vital cornerstone of working life.
1. It Keeps Workers Hydrated.
Well, duh, we hear you say. But no, really – its surprising how many businesses are still underestimating the value of hydration in the workplace and prevent employees from having hot or cold drinks at their desks.
The reality is, better hydrated workers means more productive workers, so by encouraging a consistent source of water nearby, they’ll be getting more out of their employees for their money. Simply check out our post on the benefits of staying hydrated at work for the facts.
2. It Provides Incentive To Take Regular Breaks
Staring at a backlit computer or laptop screen all day is tough. Its tough on the eyes; tough on the brain (all that info to take in at once) and tough on the spine and posture (humans were made to move, not sit for 8 hours a day). It’s only reasonable, therefore, that workers should have a reason to take regular breaks from their work, getting up to stretch their legs as often as possible.
A water cooler does just this, as getting up to refill one’s glass can be a good reminder of when to take a walk. By ensuring the circulation of blood, employees will feel less stagnant during the working day and less likely to nod off. And then of course there’s the added hydration to think about.
Remember that if workers wait till they’re thirsty to get up and fill their glass, they’re already dehydrated. Set a rule of no empty bottles/glasses/jugs on desks to encourage your team to stay topped-up at all times. Doing so will be an incentive for them to get up and take a walk whenever their vessel is running low.
3. It Encourages Office Chatter
The humble water cooler has gained a bad rep for stimulating office gossip, which can be damaging and counter-productive in many cases. However, general office chatter is crucial for establishing those important friendships and team camaraderie that your business will thrive off if created well.
The water cooler is usually where sports games and TV shows are discussed, and weekend and after-work plans made. Never underestimate this simple yet effective little meeting spot for colleagues getting along.
4. It Creates More Face Time Between Co-Workers and Leaders
Drawing on the previous point, the water cooler is also a great way for leaders to bond more with their employees and find out what’s actually happening ‘on the ground’.
By the same token, employees can take this valuable contact time (brief as it might be) to get to know their superiors more, and schmooze their way to that favour or promotion.