Posted at 1:25 PM on December 9, 2008
by Jeff Horwich
Looking around for some news to feed the "cheer up" episode we're working on for this Friday, we found this research by some guys at MIT that should brighten your day:
Conventional wisdom suggests that pissing away hours of the workday chatting in the office kitchen or over the cubicle partition would be bad for business.
Alex Pentland and Benjamin Waber at MIT found that chatter at the office -- whether it's actually work-related or not -- actually increases productivity. Among other things, Pentland says it helps our work-life balance, provides emotional support that helps when we get back to our desks, and helps circumvent some inefficiencies that occur in formal business meetings.
Unless you work for Google or something, will managers ever pay attention to research like this? It's pretty fascinating to us worker bees, but hard to imagine most bosses seeing anything other than idle time-wasting when they pass us at the water cooler.
I would write more, but I have a very important appointment in the kitchen...