The Immeasurable Power Of The Humble Cuppa In Business Relationships.
If you stop sharing tea with your colleagues, you might as well stick your fingers in your ears and close your eyes to the world!
The key to success in business is effective communication, and excellent communication starts by being social. HR managers know this, yet sometimes we seem to overlook potentially destructive issues brewing in our culture.
Thus a recent charity campaign, which highlighted the value of sharing tea breaks with your colleagues at work, has more significance to the success of your business than you might realise.
The Royal Voluntary Service has called on British Bosses to actively promote the making of rounds of tea and coffee in a bid to boost productivity and reduce workplace stress. They call it the #brewbreak!
Is this just a trite story about a quaint British tradition that’s in decline, or is there a serious lesson about team communication and productivity lurking in the leaves at the bottom of your teacup?
Their research showed that over a third of workers now admit to making tea for themselves and ignoring their colleagues. Some even stooped so low as to deliberately make drinks badly, so that they wouldn’t be asked to make them in the future. Many don’t take proper breaks at all.
So what effect does this have on team morale and individual effectiveness?
Countless studies have shown that workers who take proper breaks (i.e. structured, regular and guilt-free periods away from the task in hand) are much more productive.
The real potential of structured and shared breaks, however, comes from their social value.
Feeding and watering your guests is at the very heart of human social tradition and the decline of this activity at work is severely damaging British Industry.
I work with all kinds of organisations, helping them improve communication and effectiveness. Typically they may be experiencing inter-team conflict, poor employee morale and high levels of absenteeism through stress.
I share key strategies to help break down barriers to communication and unlock their potential.
One key lesson I have used for many years to help them develop more effective behaviours is to urge team members to “Make a brew!” This has both a literal and metaphorical meaning.
The formula is simple – the unconditional giving of your time and effort to make a tea has a profound psychological significance. It breaks down barriers, opens up conversations and smooths the way for more productive relationships.
Of course, the real value of any social interaction is when you take it beyond the constraints of the work situation. Thus I absolutely support and endorse the idea of a national campaign for caring enough to make a brew for someone, even someone you do not know or from who you will get nothing in return.
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