Office Gossip - Unavoidable at Work?

Gossip has always been considered to be a negative and unhealthy way of communicating in the workplace. Not anymore - according to studies conducted in Europe and the US, gossip is not only a method of making the workforce more efficient, but it also helps as an unconventional team building tool. Now, this is far from a suggestion to include ‘gossip’ as one of the company’s activities, but it is a sigh of relief for managers worldwide.

Why do People Gossip?

Gossip is hardly an invention of the twenty-first century; it’s been around for centuries - from ice age where the primary concern was if someone was carrying their weight in food ration, to the millennial where the same problems have taken a different setting. The eternal question remains - why do people engage in gossip?

·         It’s a method of venting anger, frustration or annoyance
·         It allows you to share concern about someone else
·         It enables you to find someone else with the same problem

And the list can go on. People can justify their reason to gossip in many words, but what is important is that you should know the boundaries of office gossip as failure to identify them can lead to detrimental results.

How to Stop It

If you find yourself in the midst of office gossip, it is important that you recognize the issue and try to prevent it from getting out of control. Here are some ways to avoid gossip:

·         Steer clear of the gossip mongers are work, especially during lunch hour
·         Refrain from contributing to the discussion by keeping your opinion to yourself
·         Suggest a change of subject if things get out of hand
·         Always be on guard - you never know who will go spreading your words around the office
·         Do not repeat the discussion to other colleagues of yours - even if you trust them!

While office gossip is being traded as the new method of bonding in the workplace, it is important to remember that despite its benefits - it can cause a lot of harm and backfire on you. This is why you should always take the necessary steps to maintain a high level of professionalism in the office. 




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