Beyond the Water Cooler – We humans are a gregarious lot. We like to gather together and establish our own social networks, which are often the real key to creativity and innovation in organisations.

Coffee Machine  245x300 - Beyond the Water Cooler

BUYING A COFFEE machine and water cooler could be the most important investments a company ever makes in its future. For it’s at these social hubs of office life that the real business often gets done, as part of a casual chat or chance meeting. But many managers are unaware that seemingly pointless social networking does in fact play a crucial part in the way people interact with each other to get work done, according to Andrew Parker, a research consultant with IBM’s Knowledge and Organizational Performance Forum in the US.

He argues that official organisation charts underpinning the structure of a company ignore the hidden social networks that really drive performance. And the rapid growth in remote working means it is now even more essential to acknowledge that they are a key factor in business success.

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