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Remote Report: Why Small Talk Should Be a Part of Your Remote Workplace

01 Jun 2021
Small talk boosts employees’ daily positive social emotions.

Originally found at Remote Report, by Brennen Jensen.

Here’s a scene from your average pre-pandemic office: co-workers collecting around the company coffee pot or copy machine to chat about gardening, or how to best housetrain a puppy or the latest Marvel Comics blockbuster. Anything but work – and lurking nearby likely was a supervisor who would eventually come along and shoo them back to their desks.

But researchers and experts in workplace dynamics are increasingly concluding that such small talk and random social encounters among co-workers are important components of company and team cohesion, job satisfaction and employee well-being.

Management experts Bob Frisch and Cary Greene put it this way in the Harvard Business Review: “The chit-chat, the side conversations that lift emotions and promote well-being, … is one way we strengthen and deepen relationships and is critical to building high-performing teams.”

Indeed, more and more remote workplaces are exploring ways to virtually orchestrate and facilitate the informal encounters and chatter that can arise organically and spontaneously in physical offices.

The study “Office Chit-Chat as a Social Ritual” published last summer in the Academy of Management Journal found that “small talk enhanced employees’ daily positive social emotions at work” and “heightened organizational citizenship behaviors.”

A 2018 study found that employee loneliness and lack of workplace affiliations reduced both worker performance and organizational commitment, while a survey of 15,000 workers that same year found that employees with good friends at work were 33 percent more likely to be satisfied with their jobs than those without such relationships.

Continue reading the original article at Remote Report.

Read the original research in Academy of Management Journal.

Also read this AOM Insights summary citing this research.

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