The power of a cuppa…

The power of a cuppa…

We spend years in education trying to gain qualifications that will help us in the workplace, as well as more years learning ‘on the job’. And yet, despite all our skills, knowledge and experience, it turns out that it’s actually the humble brew that is the key to making friends and getting on in our careers.

Recruiters will have no doubt seen candidate after candidate who worries whether they’ll ‘fit in’ when they start their new job. Whether their colleagues will like them. Whether they’ll be comfortable with the culture of their new employer’s workplace. We’re at work for a good portion of each day. If we feel uncomfortable, if we were to be ostracised by the rest of the team, or if we’re made to question our capability to carry out the job in hand, it can make those eight hours (or more) feel like a very long time indeed.

Good news is on the horizon, thankfully. A new study has shown that making a cup of tea for your workmates is the fastest and easiest way to ingrain yourself into a team. Experts have shown that this simple act “creates strong bonds” between colleagues.

Second to a good cuppa is helping a team-mate with their workload if they’re struggling; it won’t be forgotten and it will earn you Brownie points, apparently. Jumping into a dispute between colleague and customer is also a good move; it won’t go unnoticed by either party if you relieve their stress and effectively ‘save the day’. Being of good humour and sharing stationery are also to be encouraged if you want to get fellow workers on board.

Recruitment agencies are in prime position to pass on these golden nuggets and to suggest that being in charge of the tea round may do as much for a candidate’s career as the three years they spent slogging their guts out at university…

Taking things a step further, making tea for the boss - according to the study - increases your chances of promotion. Unfortunately, it appears gender rears its head here: if you’re a woman looking to climb the ladder, making your superiors their morning cuppa will only boost your chances of promotion by a fifth (20%), whereas if a man is on tea duty he will increase his promotional opportunities by 29%. The disparity of this could fill its own blog post…

So, what’s the flipside of this research? What is guaranteed to make you ‘Billy-no-mates’ in the workplace?
It’s perhaps no surprise, but not pulling your weight at work is the main bugbear of workers across the land. If you leave everything to your colleagues and choose an easy life over a collaborative one, you’ll not only be less popular, you’ll spoil your chances of moving forward with your career.

Taking the credit for someone else’s work, being perpetually late, and being confrontational were all listed in the study as similar workplace no-nos. So was the act of pinching other people’s food from the fridge and altering the heating thermostat without mutual consent (who would even consider doing such a thing?!).

And last but not least, back to the staff canteen and a huge issue for workers out there….if you’re the person who always leaves their mug in the sink to be washed up by others you may as well give up and go home, as you’ll literally be seen as the devil incarnate. Perhaps they should teach this at Oxford and Cambridge….

So, recruiters, when asked by candidates how they can better their chances, you now know what to say: “Don’t be a stranger to the office kettle!”

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