Also known as the thirsty office worker’s manifesto for drinking from the office water cooler. While an open and constant source of chilled, thirst-quenching water is never something to take for granted, there is an etiquette you should take note of when it comes to the office water cooler.
And we at the Water Cooler Company are going to guide you as to how to conduct yourself by educating you on what office water cooler etiquette entails. So, grab a cup of fresh, chilled water and prepare yourself for it. Because the office water cooler is no longer just a source of refreshment or the hot spot for swapping gossip; no…
It’s a potentially rich spring of workplace weirdness.
Take your queue
It’s a scene we’re all too familiar with: the office self-proclaimed hot shot leans lecherously on the bottle of the water cooler as he flirts borderline inappropriately with the secretary from the floor below. Not only is this cringe-inspiring to behold, but it’s a seemingly immovable roadblock between you and your cup of water. Do you wait while you teeter on the edge of dehydration, or intrude upon the conversation? When it comes down to it, a simple “Excuse me, do you mind if I grab some water?” will be enough to diffuse the situation. The secretary will get a break from the torrent of pick-up lines that’re flowing her way, and you’ll be able to slip in to simply fill up your cup and depart.
Replace the jug
After slaving for hours in your cubicle, few things can irritate you more than hitting the lever of the office water cooler to find that nothing comes out. Just as incensed as you may feel when your workmates forego their responsibility to replace the bottle, the onus is on you to do so when the time comes. Leaving it for the next person is not a victimless crime – as simply as you’re left without something chilled and refreshing to sip on, so too can you create a similar situation for your coworkers. So should you be the last to finish the bottle, replace it and hopefully the others will do it too.
Help those who can’t help themselves
While we’re not recommending that you dedicate hours in your day to roaming the office in search of the next jammed stapler or printing jam, we do all know that replacing the 5-gallon bottle in the office water cooler takes some precision and brawn. Not only can this be quite daunting for the more delicately shaped among us, but it can also see up to a quarter of the bottle’s content end up all over the floor – and your colleague. Best keep an ear and an eye out for a coworker in distress when it comes to replacing the water bottle and step in with your mad water bottle skills if needs be.
Hot water lever lovers
While the hot water lever can offer a quick fix for the caffeine-fiends among us, there’s never (and we repeat never) an appropriate time to dump the sludgy remnants of yesterday’s coffee cup into the tray beneath the spouts of the water cooler. While the water cooler is a source of water that can cool or heat your beverages however you see fit, it is not a basin in which cups and the kind can be washed. Don’t tarnish the water cooler for everyone else by turning it into a dumping ground for your leftovers. And while you’re at it, avoid letting the spouts make contact with your water bottle. Germaphobe’s will be watching and find it more than a little disgusting.
While we can’t foresee every possible and potentially awkward situation that you may come across while on the search for your next sip, we can offer some quick and helpful hints that’ll hopefully prevent you from being completely ostracised from the water cooler clan of coworkers:
- If you spill, clean it up. Whether it’s tea from your mug when you go for a refill or a mess on the floor due to your lack of attention when handling the levers, wipe it up. No body wants to find a dot-to-dot design away them on the office water cooler.
- Don’t crowd the office water cooler. If you’re done filling your cup or bottle up, back away from the water cooler. We don’t mean that you can’t enjoy the play-by-play of the previous night’s game with your coworkers, but we do believe it’s best that you conduct your conversations away from the water spouts.
- If empty, refill. Even if there’s a tiny trickle of water escaping the spouts, it’s time to face the facts that you’ve reached the bottom of the bottle and replace it.
- If you’re unable to replace the bottle due to your dainty design or other physical limitations, ask for help. The main goal is to keep the supply of fresh and chilled water available to all, and even if it’s done with the help of someone else, it’s best you play your roll in making this happen.
Equipped with your firm knowledge of office water cooler etiquette, we believe that you’re now capable of returning to the office and conducting yourself around the water cooler without things getting weird. So remember what we’ve told you and work together with your coworkers to keep the office water cooler the friendliest place in the office.