When I first joined P&G out of school, I remember the maddening effect of sitting in a cube under fluorescent lights and uncomfortable modular furniture for more than an hour. The lack of sensory stimulus drove me to participate in the 8th floor gossip circles from where I learned some of my most profound insights about marketing and group dynamics (and engaged in the occasional game of Attends tag ...don't ask).
Although the periodic research study will site the lost people hours from this pasttime, it really is the "social grease" that makes workplaces work that much better. We're even favourable to talking about less career-advancing topics in work environments like reality shows (see Monster's poll on the subject).
So as an interested leader, manager and employee, you need to be part of this whispering conversation network or be left "out the loop".
And today's key question " Is the watercooler still the centre of buzz within your workplace?". We asked our BzzAgents - here are the top 11 places where they most consistently buzz at work:
|In hallway discussions or office drop-bys||51.4%|
|At social events||41.4%|
|On the phone||41.2%|
|At the watercooler||28.5%|
|Through instant messaging||26.7%|
|At the coffee shop||24.7%|
|Through public postings||22.5%|
|In closed-door discussions||19.8%|
|Through public speeches or statements||11.1%|
- don't skip that Roast beef sandwich at Druxy's - you'll miss out on valuable info about the innovation in sector 7G and that just-breaking personnel move in 4B
-the PDAs and Blackberries are winning - to stay connected to & in your office, keep it at the ready in your holster to hear and send the latest e-buzz
- the office drop-by - we hate it when we have 5 minutes to blast out of office and get to our next appointment, spinning class or hot dinner date but it still has pretty good "buzz" currency (for evidence, see the iconic and Dilbertian film Office Space - a classic flick on cube life)
- for those working at remote sites, you're missing out - live face to face social events and meetings are providing a rich breeding ground for buzz
- for managers, of particular importance, valuable word of mouth is not happening through public postings, behind closed doors or through public speeches and statements (speeches were our last ranked area at 11.1%) - 30 years ago, the valuable stuff travelled behind mahogany desks, oak doors and big podiums. Now it's more democratically located at the local Tim Horton's, on Razr's and in worker pods
We have plenty of insight in the coming months on buzz in the work environment (look for future over-the-top headlines like Buzz - The Invisible Career Killer). Heck, we should - our research among our Canadian BzzAgent panel suggests that buzz occurs more frequently in a work environment than any other place.
Two cavaets on the data above - our closed-ended question did not include "washrooms" or "elevators" as survey responses. Given the reaction received to date on this survey and the captive nature of these two places - we think this was a big oversight.
Now get out of your cubicle, grab your ofice posse and head down to the coffee shop to talk about this article...