Using these four words in office communication could save your job

Socializing at work pays off when layoffs strike

Man and woman with perspex speech bubbles.

(Ezra Bailey/Getty)

Lunch, coffee, baseball and football. No, those aren’t the missing words from today’s crossword puzzle. Those are the four words that could mean the difference between keeping your job and packing up your desk.

According to recent research from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, employees who message their colleagues about topics like sports and meals were significantly more likely to keep their jobs during company layoffs. The study’s author looked at two years of electronic communications like emails, instant messages and calendar invites of more than 8,000 workers at a global information technology consulting firm. After sifting through and crunching the data, the Wharton researcher identified a few keywords that kept popping up in messages from workers who were more likely to keep their jobs at the company: baseball, football, coffee and lunch.

Those employees who used these keywords weren’t necessarily the most productive at the office, or brought in the most money for the company, but, nevertheless, bosses found these individuals to be valuable, and so they got to keep their jobs.

The findings suggest that socializing at work is just as important—maybe even more—as productivity, and that social employees offer something intangible that can’t be measured by revenue alone. So make sure to brush up on your baseball and football banter, and that you carve out some time in your day for lunch and coffee dates.


So… how about those Calgary Stampeders?