• Margaret Page

Mind Your Manners Around the Water Cooler


Business people around a water cooler

Ah, the water cooler. It’s not only where can you grab a drink of water at work, it’s also where you’ll likely get all of the latest news from your fellow colleagues. With so many people quenching their thirst for both, it’s a high-traffic locale that certainly demands proper etiquette. To avoid becoming a topic of discussion at this most communal of places, here are some good etiquette tips to follow:


Form a line – First come, first served. If people are simply conversing and seem oblivious that you are waiting to fill your cup, politely ask, “Excuse me, may I please get a drink of water?” They’ll quickly make way for you.


Bottle vs. Cup – Observe and be considerate of others around you. If you are filling a gigantic water bottle and someone is waiting to fill his or her small water glass, take a break and let that person go in front of you. It will only take a short time for them to get their fill.


Avoid touching the water nozzle/spigot – Refrain from touching these with your fingers, lips or even the edge of your water bottle. With cold and flu season in full swing, it’s important to avoid and prevent the spread of any germs.


Replace the empty jug – If you were the lucky one to get the last glass of water from the cooler, then you are the lucky one responsible for replacing the jug. If you aren’t fit to lift a 5-gallon jug, find a friendly colleague who is willing and able to help you.


Replace the disposable cups – If you were fortunate enough to get the last cup, take a moment to refill the stock. Your thirsty co-workers will thank you!


Put trash in the trashcan – If you are using a water fountain, refrain from spitting out your gum or leaving any other garbage, such as used cups, in or on the receptacle. Leaving gum, spit or any other trash in a water fountain basin would be very discourteous to other users.


Find a sink – Need to dump your old coffee? Rinse your soup bowl? Wash your hands? These are tasks that require a proper sink basin and drain. Be considerate of your co-workers and keep the water fountain and cooler clean and neat for the soul purpose of obtaining a drink of beloved H2O.


Clean up spills – If you spilled some water, grab a few paper towels and clean it up. Not only are you kindly removing your mess, you are also removing a potential hazard.

Following these simple rules will go a long way for maintaining your professionalism and respect in the workplace. Cheers to you!