Many moons ago I blogged about water cooler etiquette – this year as we segue into spring (actually, spring was officially on 22 March) I was wondering if, four years on, there’s been any change about the ‘do discuss’ versus the ‘do not discuss’ topics especially with the rampant advancement of the enormous animal that social media has become.
Let’s see what changes have taken place since then:
MySpace faded away into obscurity. One of the reasons behind this is believed to be because Facebook ‘perfected’ the social networking concept, whereas MySpace just introduced people to it.
Instagram went bananas and gained popularity hand over photo. All of a sardine, people globally were taking and uploading artfully enhanced photos of everything from their breakfasts to every single view they saw that day.
Twitter also grew exponentially, but as of this year, is behind Instagram and other platforms such as WeChat, FB Messenger and Tumblr.
Bearing these types of platforms in mind, what with the sharing of information that most wouldn’t have dreamt of twelve or so years ago, are the more ‘old school’ workplace rules still in place?
At your water cooler:
Then: Telling your colleagues about your most recent holiday was a do. Just not too much graphic detail, please.
Now: Showing your colleagues every jaw breakingly boring second of your holiday captured on camera is a definite no.
Then: Sharing the news of your new baby is wonderful and most definitely a do.
Now: Again, showing photos of your newborn’s every gasp, yawn, micro facial expression for every minute from dawn ‘til dusk is a do not.
Then: Do talk about the fantastic meal that you had at the new Italian restaurant in town.
Now: Same as then don’t talk about the four bottles of wine that you drank with your lasagne or show photos of every aspect of the meal, up to and including the aforementioned four bottles of wine.
Then: Sharing positive news about your family and friends is a do as it gives your colleagues insight into who you are.
Now: The same as then. A don’t is still to not share your personal problems at work. There are plenty of problems to contend with in the workplace. Sharing your personal problems with your colleagues indicates a familiarity level that a majority of colleagues may be uncomfortable with.
However you choose to spend your time at the water cooler, remember the main reason that you’re there – to stretch your legs; disengage your brain (five minute ‘brain rests’ have proven to be very beneficial to one’s creativity) and to refill your water bottle or glass and then drink the water, because as we all know by now, maintaining a steady water intake is the surest way to keep yourself in tip-top form during the working day.