Matthew Gates 2m 620 #watercooler
The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
The Sacred Water Cooler
If you are lucky enough to have a workplace that supplies water, you will know the joys of the water cooler. For those places that do not offer a water cooler and are stuck bring a bottle or a gallon jug of water from home, this may not apply to you.
For everyone else, there is nothing like taking a break, walking over to the water cooler, and having a nice fresh cold cup of water. It brings a refreshing feeling as you gulp down the water, knowing that you can go back for a second or third cup. The water is supplied by your workplace and they usually order a few 5-gallon jugs per week for everyone to enjoy.
The water cooler also offers a break to make small idle conversation, have small meetings, or even ask a co-worker you might like. This is not to say that the water cooler takes away from productivity, but small chatter and conversation should be encouraged at work.
Nonetheless, it is a courtesy of the workplace to offer such a commodity to its workers, who sit in an office all day long and are probably more dehydrated than they realize, as most doctors do recommend at least 8 cups of water per day. Sometimes you may just find the traditional water fountain that comes with the building, and while it provides water, it is not a water cooler.
No company is required to provide its employees with food or water, a kitchen, a lunchroom, or anything other than the basic necessities of a bathroom. A company with a water cooler might be more of a luxury than anything else, and those who are privileged to work for a company that provides a water cooler should know that most companies do not offer the simple luxury of drinking imported water. Having a water cooler in the workplace might represent that you work for a company that is doing their best to ensure their employees feel appreciated and respected for their hard work.
There is a downside to having a water cooler at work and that is: They are not an infinite water supply and do run out of water. Whether the company has a designated person to refill this water, which often requires someone to remove the old water cooler, and pick up a heavy 5-gallon jug of water, which is equivalent to around 40 pounds or so. If there is no designated person, than it would seem logical and proper for the last person who drank the water to refill the water cooler.
Unfortunately, there are plenty of people who gladly drink from the water cooler, but refuse to lift a new 5-gallon jug. This is representative of very bad water cooler etiquette. It’s like using the last of the toilet paper and not changing it, leaving a dirty dish in the sink, or not cleaning up after yourself.
I speak for all those people who get stuck having to always change the water cooler: If you are the last person to use the water cooler and it runs out, than be courteous and replace it or tell someone if you have trouble lifting the jug on to the water cooler. Surely, it is better than leaving it for someone else to do, when they come for water, and find nothing but an empty jug.
The luxury of having a water cooler is very pleasant to have, but it does not mean that everyone who uses it should not be respectful to the entire workplace for providing a water cooler. If you use it for anything, you are obligated to share the responsibility in taking care of the water cooler.