Office Gossip What’s the Harm?

Nothing causes more excitement around the office water cooler than a juicy tidbit of office gossip. It gets everybody hyped up and excited about being in the know about the goings on the lives and careers of their coworkers. However, you might not realize just how harmful office gossip really is for you, your coworkers, and the company you work for. When it comes to office gossip, it’s probably best to bite your tongue and walk away.

  • Gossip Can Damage Your Career – while that little bit of gossip might seem so innocent, it can actually damage your career. Participating in office gossip, or being the subject of it, can cause you to either lose your job or be turned down for promotions. It can also damage your reputation in the industry, making it harder for you to find better positions at other companies.
  • Gossip Kills Office Relationships – When gossip enters the workplace morale drops and relationships are irreparably severed. When your co-worker finds out you’ve been talking about them or associating with a group of gossipers who have, chances are they won’t trust you anymore.
  • Gossip Takes a Toll on Productivity – When people are gossiping, whether around the water cooler or through emails, they aren’t working. Time is money, and productivity is important. Productivity is not only decreased in normal day-to-day operations, but in meetings as well.
  • Gossip Causes Undo Stress – When people are gossiping about someone it can put a strain on them emotionally, which in turn can reflect negatively on their work output. The added stress of knowing people are talking about them can cause them to fall behind in their work or even quit their jobs.
  • Gossip Is Expensive to Your Employer – You might think that gossip is only costly to your employer due to the decrease in productivity, but this is not entirely accurate. Truth be told, the time spent gossiping on company time takes a definite toll on a company’s finances, which sometimes results in office cutbacks and job losses.

If you find yourself in a situation where you are trying to avoid office gossip, but someone is talking to you about someone else, it’s best to talk as little as possible about the situation. Don’t say anything about the person in question that you wouldn’t say to their face, or that you wouldn’t want repeated back to you because chances are, it will be.

Office gossip, although tempting, is one of those things that it’s best to stay away from. It tends to turn toxic quickly, even in the best of working environments. While some might say a little bit of gossip never hurt anyone, the truth is that it’s hurtful, harmful and a complete waste of company time and your time.