Office gossip is like a virus that infects everyone it reaches. It has the ability to ruin someone’s reputation, intrude their privacy, and affect their lives. Sadly, there is no escaping gossip, because no matter where you go, there will be a group of people who take pleasure in gossiping, without realizing how gossip ruins people’s lives.

Having said that, the workplace is no different and you have to be extra careful in what you choose to share. It is important to keep your personal and professional lives separate from each other. Gossip can cause emotional distress to a person who is constantly investigated or talked about by their co-workers.

Moreover, gossip can cause a lot of friction between people and can affect productivity. Therefore, it is important that you learn about the devastating effects gossip has on people and the work environment.

Office Gossip:  The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Try to avoid gossiping about your co-workers at all costs. If you hear gossip, instead of sharing it with others, put a stop to it and keep it to yourself. You wouldn’t like something personal of yours to make the rounds at the office, and the same goes for other people. Here are reasons of why you need to steer clear of office gossip:

1.     Damages Relationships

If you shared something personal with someone at the office and later found out that you are the talk of the town, and that your personal life is the hot topic of the day, you will feel betrayed. You will naturally feel frustrated and angry. You will confront the person who spread it, and will never be able to trust that person again. Still, you will have to continue to work with them. In such a scenario, office gossip will not only damage relationships, but will create a hostile work environment.

2.     Slows Down Productivity

When gossiping begins to affect the way a person manages their time at the workplace, then a definite problem exists and needs to be addressed. Whether you are a gossipmonger or a person who has been a target of gossip, your level of productivity will decrease. This might be due to the consistent arguments you have with your co-workers, telling them to stop talking about you, or the time you waste gossiping about other people.

3.     It Goes Against Professionalism

The supervisor, manager, boss, or the whole organization should put a stop to gossip as soon as they hear it. If nothing is done to stop the gossip, it will send a negative message to the rest of the employees. Taking no action will convey to them that gossiping in the workplace is tolerated.

4.     Inflicts Psychological and Emotional Stress

No matter where in the workplace an employee is, they will always feel like the whispers are about them, even when no one is whispering. In a workplace where gossip is prevalent, the workers eye each other with suspicion and are unable to think positively. They suffer from psychological and emotional stress, and are unable to ignore gossip. The high levels of stress of gossip combined with work will affect their performance in the workplace.

5.     Gossip can be Expensive for the Company

Gossiping in the workplace leads to people feeling unmotivated to work, which in return creates a very unproductive work environment. When work is not being properly done, it affects the company negatively. The company may end up losing resources, will see low profits, and will get lawsuits thrown at them from angry customers and employees alike. Valuable employees will leave the company because the company failed to take up any action to put an end to gossip.

Office gossip is harmful for the individual and the organization. Different companies are making an effort to inform people that gossiping in the workplace doesn’t benefit anyone. However, companies are not the only ones who should put proper measures to stop gossiping in the workplace, but you should as well.

Steps You Should Take to Avoid Gossip

1.     Don’t Bring Your Personal Life to Work

People interact with their co-workers every day and spend several hours with them. Therefore, there is a tendency for them to form close bonds with them. In addition, it doesn’t take too long to form close friendships. Barely any time passes and people start opening up about themselves. Things are pleasant until an argument ensues between the two.

When relationships turn sour, the person you trusted with your secrets may start passing on the news to others. Be friends with everyone and maintain a good professional relationship with them, but be wary of who you decide to share your secrets with. It is recommended that you avoid sharing any personal information.

2.     Don’t Become Part of the Gossip

Distance yourself from people who like to gossip about others, because you don’t want your name to come up as a conspirator. If you have qualms about the management, then talk with them directly. Since words are often misconstrued, you don’t want the management to hear about the complains you have against them from others. Instead, try keeping things private.

3.     Don’t Give People a Chance to Talk About You

People will talk about you regardless of what you do, so avoid giving them an opportunity to make you the topic of their discussion. Dress and talk properly, be understanding, avoid confrontation with employees, and don’t backbite other co-workers.

4.     Don’t Doubt Yourself

If people are gossiping about you, let them. Your goal is to remain confident and believe in yourself. Especially, when you know that the stories floating about you are false. Keep your head high and confidentially walk in the office. Tell yourself each day before going to work that you are a better person than they are. Eventually, the stories will die.

Being part of gossip is never fun. It sometimes hurts and scars people. Why be a part of a group that constantly enjoys themselves in gossiping about others? Instead, you should focus on stepping up the career ladder. Furthermore, make friends with people who share the same anti-gossiping interest as you.

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