New research from Age UK* reveals that over a quarter of Brits (26%) lie about their weekend escapades in order to impress co-workers. Despite this, almost half (44%) of Brits agree that the best thing a colleague can ask them about is their weekend.
If you are looking to perfect the art of inter-office conversations, follow the advice uncovered by Age UK’s research and ask your colleagues if they’ve seen something on TV; a quarter of Brits (24%) agree that this is a great office conversation starter. You could also ask them if they’ve been to a certain place or venue (15%), or if they’ve read the book you’re reading (14%).
However, office workers should tread carefully when it comes to asking about their co-workers personal lives, as over a third (38%) of the people polled say they would hate this. Other topics to avoid include asking people what they are eating (17%) and what they got up to in their spare time (17%).
There are benefits to striking up a conversation in the office, as the findings also reveal that nearly two thirds (61%) of the nation concur that a quick chat with colleagues at work makes them feel more positive.
The research comes as Age UK is encouraging people to sign up today to ‘The Big Chinwag’ – its nationwide fundraiser on Friday 19th June that encourages Brits to get ‘chin-wagging’ for charity. Age UK is calling on offices, schools, friends and families to take the opportunity to have a break from their daily routine and enjoy the company of others – and at the same time help raise vital funds to help combat loneliness. It’s the perfect excuse to have a chat with your colleagues, or get to know your co-workers – just don’t ask about their lunch!
For those getting to know colleagues, leading psychologist, Gladeana McMahon, says: “People fear what is often called ‘small talk’. A good way to overcome these fears is to focus on the other person and encourage them to do the talking by asking open questions1 – these encourage others to talk more freely about themselves. People have also found it useful to remember the acronym O.P.E.N as a way of providing a framework to hang their open questions on. O.P.E.N stands for occupation, personal relationships, environment and non-work time.
“Research shows that having a chinwag has positive effects for an individual’s physical and emotional health and well-being. Chinwags also help deal with isolation and relieve stress. The little chats about nothing in particular, but everything in general, can make a real difference.”
The Charity is urging as many people as possible to get behind its Big Chinwag fundraiser on 19th June as sadly, Age UK figures show that one million older people describe themselves as always or often feeling lonely4 and nearly half of older people (49% of 65+ UK) say that television or pets are their main form of company5.
The money raised will help Age UK deliver its much needed national and local services to help combat loneliness. Regular contact and services from local Age UKs can be life-changing and give older people the confidence they need to feel more connected and less isolated.
Laurie Boult, Head of Fundraising at Age UK, said: “Loneliness can be devastating and it’s a huge issue affecting too many people in later life – that’s why we’re calling on everyone to sign up now to The Big Chinwag. It’s the last chance to join the nation’s biggest conversation this Friday and take an extra break in the day to enjoy a natter with colleagues, friends or family, while raising much needed funds to tackle loneliness.”
There are lots of ways to organise a Big Chinwag event anywhere. Go to www.ageuk.org.uk/bigchinwag to sign up now and download a fundraising pack. Age UK has also launched its own Chinmaker app, where people can share an image of their own ‘pimped up’ chin on social media to help raise awareness of The Big Chinwag, go to www.ageuk.org.uk/chinmaker for more details.
Older people and their families can get in touch with Age UK to see how the Charity could help someone who may be feeling lonely by calling Age UK Advice for free on 0800 169 65 65.