As much as we may want to pretend otherwise, we live in a world that is completely fascinated with the private lives of other people. You might even admit that you've tuned into TMZ to watch the latest exploits of your favorite celebrity or gossiped a time or two about a close friend or coworker.
In the workplace, this type of workplace gossip can get out of control and - if left unchecked - can cause a whole host of problems for an organization or an individual's career. If employees are continuously gathered around the water cooler talking about coworkers, management, or the organization as a whole, then little work is getting done. Aside from productivity, gossip can cause problems between coworkers. Individuals who are the subject of rumors may distrust and thererfore not be willing to work with those they believe to be participating in gossip. Ultimately, this will lead to the breakdown of team cohesiveness and cause management to spend an exhorbitant amount of time dealing with these and related issues.
What Can Be Done About the Chatter?
While it is nearly impossible to have a completely gossip-free workplace, everyone can play a part in reducing this distraction from your office setting. From a management perspective, one of the most powerful means of squashing unnecessary chatter is to have a regular forum with employees to discuss what's going on in your workplace, at least about things that don't need to remain confidential. The more open and honest management is about workplace issues, the less likely others are to make up misinformation.
From an employee perspective, there are a number of ways that each one of us can not only avoid being the subject of workplace gossip, but stay out of the gossip loop altogether. Review the infographic below for some suggestions.
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