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Idle Chat and Success at Work

It’s Monday morning at 8am. I have just arrived in the office and am making my rounds. I put my coffee down at my desk, take my lunch to the kitchen and get a glass of water. I greet my fellow colleague. We chat about the weather, his weekend and why oh why does Monday come so quickly. I then see someone else in the office. “Good Morning – idle chat – how was your weekend?”  While these conversations seem meaningless and superficial, they have actually been proven to make you happier at work.

According to research done by MIT, when we make connections to our coworkers, we build relationships and are more apt to share knowledge. Larry Irons says, “People thinking about how to support collaboration and performance need to keep in mind the simple fact that employees don’t only gather around the water cooler or coffee pot to get a drink. They often use getting a drink of water, or a cup of coffee, as a pretext for taking a break, and information sharing happens incidentally as they interact in that informal process, sometimes playfully, with their peers and, in exceptional organizations, their manager.”

Companies have focused on this type of communication when looking at employee performance. Call Centres see higher employee satisfaction when people are allowed to move about organically. When people feel more connected to their work colleagues, they enjoy their job more. The greatest part: all this information is gathered electronically from employees wearing bracelets. Technology is so cool.

To read the full article, “Gossip, Collaboration and Performance in Distributed Teams” click on the link.

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