In a typical workday, it’s almost certain that employees aren’t engaged in their specific job duties for a full 8 hours. Instead, employees frequently spend time tending to biological needs; scanning the Internet; and, of course, chatting with coworkers. Often, this chatting occurs around a literal or metaphorical watercooler—hence the term “watercooler conversations.”
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While some employers may begrudge the lost productivity because of interoffice fraternization, it’s generally widely acknowledged that this viewpoint is shortsighted and ignores the value of informal office communication.
“Lots of research documents the importance of the informal conversations that take place