Professor Alex “Sandy” Pentland explores the correlation between water cooler chat and work productivity in his article, The Water Cooler Effect. The author mentions two specific studies that demonstrate that the cohesion amongst colleagues created a drastic increase in productivity and job satisfaction. Wikipedia describes the water cooler effect as the “phenomenon” of co-workers gathering around the water cooler to talk during break time. There tends to be a more negative connotation to the idea of water cooler chat. There is the idea that a lot of gossip and rumors are brought up during water cooler talks. Where exactly is this increase and productivity and job satisfaction coming from?
Professor Pentland, along with his MIT researchers, took the time to actually explore this notion and see how exactly all this “water cooler chat” affects the employees in the workplace. There may be some gossip and rumors flying around when co-workers are socializing; however the cohesion that is created and the amount of work related ideas and knowledge that is shared during this time does indeed make these specific employees more productive at work. The bond they are creating makes what Professor Pentland calls a “tribe” feel helps boost the job satisfaction as well.
This fascinating article helped inspire me to want to share information, thoughts and ideas on topics in my career field. The specific studies that are mentioned in the article are all face to face encounters amongst colleagues. A part of me wonders if these outcomes also holds true when it comes to interactions within the social media realm. I decided to share all the information and opinions I gather on a blog. This will give me the opportunity to have a voice about the fields I am most passionate about. This blog will also hopefully spark ideas and thoughts amongst the readers that will help increase their productivity. Feel free to share any thoughts and ideas on this blog and future blogs!
Pentland, Alex “Sandy”. The Water Cooler Effect. Reality Mining. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/reality-mining/200911/the-water-cooler-effect
Wikipedia. Water Cooler. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_cooler#Water_cooler_effect