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To wonder how long is acceptable to spend chatting during work?

(29 Posts)
bestfakesmile Tue 07-Nov-17 07:36:51

Colleague complained about me the other day that I didn't spend enough time 'catching up' with the people I worked with first thing in the morning. I have more responsibility than them and had a very long list of things I had to get done that day, I did ask everybody if they'd had nice weekends etc and exchanged a few perfectly friendly sentences and then got on with my work. If I had spent longer talking to them then I would have had to stay longer at the end of the day.
How long do people spend in social chit chat at the beginning of the day in most workplaces?

Believeitornot Tue 07-Nov-17 07:38:47

Are they working for you? Or you for them?

If not, who cares what they think.

I found that the most efficient workers I’ve worked with are the ones who get their heads down and crack on.

If they work for you, I’d have set times for regular catch ups so you can hear what they’re up to and it helps you pick up other things eg if they’re having issues at home which might impact on their work.

Whambarsarentasfizzyastheywere Tue 07-Nov-17 07:39:43

In mine I probably spend about three quarters of the time talking and the rest working grin

pasturesgreen Tue 07-Nov-17 07:42:49

Surely it depends on the workplace?
I tend to spend quite a bit of time in non work related chat first thing in the morning, but in my office it's unlikely there's something really pressing to deal with before about 9.45-10am, so people tend to take their time over coffee etc.
Your behaviour sounds eminently reasonable, though!

Rainyboooooo Tue 07-Nov-17 07:47:02

I’m with you - I hate small talk. I want to get in and get on!

LakieLady Tue 07-Nov-17 07:47:40

I think if you spend all day in the same office, a simple "Hi, have a good weekend/holiday/whatever" and so on is perfectly sufficient. Your colleagues, what else is there to "catch up" with?

My colleagues and I work mostly on our own, out in the community. When we get in the office, it's so nice to to talk to someone who's not a client or some other associated agency, we have a hell of a lot to talk about, so we really gab on. Every now and then, a manager from elsewhere comes and works in our office (it's a hot desk office) and they have been known to complain about it.

They then get very short shrift, even from those at director level.

SemolinaSilkpaws Tue 07-Nov-17 07:53:44

Everywhere I have worked the understanding has been you are there to work not talk. Lunch hours and breaks are for ‘catching up’. Fine to exchange a few pleasantries when you arrive but then head down and get on.

RunningOutOfCharge Tue 07-Nov-17 07:54:56

Who did they complain to? Or was it just more of a grumble?

blueskyinmarch Tue 07-Nov-17 07:57:46

It depends on the ethos in the place you work and what sort of work you do. I used to work as a social worker and we always used first thing a s a coffee and catch up time because once you had properly started work for the day it was possible you wouldn't see your colleagues again until the next morning. As it was an emotionally difficult job it was a good time to gauge the mood of everyone and let people off load if they needed to before they headed into another fraught day.

YouCantCallMeBetty Tue 07-Nov-17 08:04:11

I work in an open plan office and will chat to whoever is around in the time it takes to fire up a computer and make coffee but then it’s head down and work until lunchtime when we try to all sit and eat together and not talk about work. I make a point of catching up separately with those I line manage to see how they are/pick up any issues. I work part time and if I wasn’t fairly disciplined then I’d never get anything done.

DryHeave Tue 07-Nov-17 08:08:57

I can't stand the whole "what are you doing this weekend?" And "how was your weekend?" chatter (which has even progressed into "how was your evening?" every blooming morning). I'm not interested in sharing, I'm not interested in knowing. I find the conversations banal and superficial. I'd rather talk about other stuff naturally during the day... once I've got my feet under the desk and made a dent in my overnight emails!

maddiemookins16mum Tue 07-Nov-17 08:15:12

I spend the first 15 mins chatting, making tea and generally not doing much, but once 9am hits, I get my head down as I try to make urgent phone calls first thing to claimant Solicitors etc.
Then we have a brew at 10.30 and all listen to Pop Master and I then plough through (with my headphones in) until 2pm and take a late lunch. We often chat at other points but we can all go hours in complete silence as we just need to concentrate.

BobbinThreadbare123 Tue 07-Nov-17 08:23:12

I don't really do chatting. There are some people in my office who spend most of the day yakking and it is infuriating. I am being bored to death lately about one of the admin people's pregnancy. Anyone would think she was the only woman ever to go through it, and quite frankly TMI.

HartlandRoad Tue 07-Nov-17 08:34:51

If you're working part time all that inane chat can really impact on your productivity. As long as you're friendly and polite and exchange the obligatory pleasantries first thing, you have nothing to worry about.

bestfakesmile Tue 07-Nov-17 11:03:04

I am quite happy to engage in small talk when there is time but I know I am perfectly polite. Just because one person wants to spend 30 mins chatting about really inane, self aggrandising stuff every morning (she is a total narcissist) doesn't mean I have to waste my time listening. She had had a weekend away and obviously just wanted to spout on about it.
I also think it's quite unprofessional, we are in a customer-facing role and this chat continues often in front of customers. I am always in 20-30 mins before we open, this particular person only turns up a lot later and then wants to drink tea and chat away when the working day has begun. Am I abnormal in wanting to get on with my work when I am at work?

Shoxfordian Tue 07-Nov-17 12:09:50

You're reasonable and she isn't

Don't worry about what she thinks, just get on with your job

Enb76 Tue 07-Nov-17 13:08:11

Did she mean catch up on guff (which I can't stand, I don't really care about how people spent their evening) or catch up on what's going on in the office.

I chat quite a lot about what's going on within the office otherwise communication can get missed - the amount of emails everyone has to wade through means some important stuff that has been buried at the bottom of the email is overlooked. Or one departments decision that they didn't think to tell us but impacts us doesn't get flagged up until its actually affecting us. Also, I like to know workloads so that I can help out if required or know where there are pinch points. Talking is often better than email.

toffeepumpkins Tue 07-Nov-17 13:13:35

We chat whilst we work for 5-10 minutes and then crack on with what we have to do, we've got our own office for the two of us but customers can just walk in so we rarely do chat. It'd annoy me if there was too much chatting because we're both very busy and don't have time.

snash12 Tue 07-Nov-17 13:18:50

YANBU. Who actually complains about someone NOT chatting enough?!

I'm similar to you, just want to get on with stuff.

MsJuniper Tue 07-Nov-17 13:19:33

I work in an environment where we have to talk about the kind of stuff which always leads to quite interesting conversations, personal experiences, YouTube videos and all sorts. It’s very dangerous and time can easily slip away!

Not so much small talk, although we all do things in our spare time which relate to our work, so again a quick question about what someone might be doing this evening can turn into a similar thing to the above.

I am the boss and to be honest I am the worst for it.

ConciseandNice Tue 07-Nov-17 13:23:14

In my last job I worked in an office where you were micromanaged to within an inch of your life. You couldn't burp without the boss telling you to stop wasting time. If you were caught smiling and saying hello to a colleague, she'd rush out of her office and stand by your desk to deter you from saying anything else. God she was awful. I am at work to work and YANBU to get annoyed about colleagues wasting time with blather, but it's important to strike a balance because so much of our lives are spent 'working'.

VladmirsPoutine Tue 07-Nov-17 13:29:18

How can that have been filed as a complaint? I'm not accusing you of lying, but I struggle to see how a HR manager could deal with that particular complaint.

I can understand if it's a case of you not spending enough time catching-up about the various tasks / projects that are ongoing. But how can not spending enough time chatting be a plausible complaint? It just doesn't really add up.

EnthusiasmIsDisturbed Tue 07-Nov-17 13:43:54

We chit chat a lot at work

But we have to communicate all the time and this often leads to chit chat

We also laugh a lot at work I think necessary when at times you are being pushed and demanded

I know it annoys one of the quieter worker but then again the workers that chit chat put far more effort and so far more

MsHarry Tue 07-Nov-17 21:49:03

5 mins at most. We have a staff briefing for 15 mins every morning and 5 mins at the end is general chit chat. More than that and I would feel uncomfortable.

BelleandBeast Tue 07-Nov-17 23:59:44


I recall going back to work after DD1, had to be in by 9, leave at 5.15 on the dot to get to the childminder's, I had my head down and listening to the chit chat drove me insane. I didn't partake and the PA constantly left me off email communication as I wasn't being part of the team, well that was how i interpreted it, she kept smiling sweetly saying she forgot me I complained about her drivelling on and not doing any actual work

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