Why Office Gossip Decreases Productivity

Office Gossip

Image by Magnus Manske 

No matter how big or small the company you work for may be, chances are that office gossip is still something to be contended with. In some cases, it can be a little harmless fun – a little chitchat with your co-workers about higher-ups or people in other departments over your coffee break. But in more serious and unpleasant cases, office gossip can be vicious and genuinely damaging to workplace productivity. Here’s why.

It Decreases Professionalism

These days, there’s a lot of emphasis placed on keeping your work and private life separate, not least due to the pervasiveness of social media making people’s personal lives infinitely more accessible. So if you find out something shocking that your co-worker did– sharing it with colleagues will make you seem less professional, not to mention the fact that it creates a negative atmosphere in which such mudslinging is tolerated. Is that really the kind of atmosphere you want to work in?

It Prevents Teamwork

If you and your colleagues are prone to maliciousness about each other, chances are any projects or group work that requires you to work as a team will be made incredibly difficult by the pre-existing lack of cooperation. The quality of your work could suffer as a result, and even if you feel like that’s not your fault, try explaining that to your boss. Also, if you happen to be put on a team with someone who doesn’t participate in office gossip, the standard of their work could wind up being collateral damage for you and your gossipy workmates.

It Presents a Distraction

Time spent gossiping is obviously time spent not doing work. These days, with Skype and emails, it’s easier for such sneaky work-skiving to go undetected – even in an open-plan office or one with glass dividers – but it obviously presents problems in the long run if you’re neglecting your work to chat. Besides, communicating that way means that your words are easily repeated and forwarded to others, they may even become the subject of future gossip. Saying unpleasant things about someone out loud is bad enough, but writing those unpleasant things down? That’s just foolish.

It’s a Source of Stress

If people know they’re being gossiped about, especially unfairly, it can be a pretty terrible source of stress for them. Depending on the severity, it may not just be their work that’s affected, but their health. Given the impact a few idle words can have on someone’s wellbeing, it seems much wiser to restrain yourself and adopt a more mature attitude towards office gossip.

It Can Damage a Career

In the worst cases, office gossip that reaches important ears could lead to someone being reprimanded, overlooked for promotion, or even fired. Such scenarios are even worse if they stem from accusations or rumours that are untrue. When career prospects risk getting ruined, it’s definitely time to keep your mouth clamped.

Do you know of any ways to keep office gossip from getting out of hand? Share them in the comments!