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How Office Gossip Affects the Workplace and Employee Productivity

Updated on May 11, 2012
jpcmc profile image

I'm a dad, husband, and Christian first. The rest is just life's add-ons: an educator, administrator, learning & development professional.

How severe is office gossip in your workplace?
How severe is office gossip in your workplace? | Source

I know a small real estate company with 20 or so employees. You would think that such a small company has a strong bond between its people. To my horror, this was far from reality. In fact, this small organization is riddled with lots of strain and tension. This unsettling vibes made it difficult for the organization to grow. The culprit as I found out was the gossips that floated in every crack and corner of the office. To say that gossip had a bad effect was a humongous understatement.

Gossip no matter how innocent or small can ruin even a huge organization. Here are some ill effects of gossip in the workplace especially when it goes out of hand.

Office gossip can decrease employee productivity
Office gossip can decrease employee productivity | Source

Strains relationships

The most obvious effect of rumor-mongering in the office is the strain on relationships. Whether it’s professional or personal relationships, gossips can be destructive. Once relationships are ruined, other facets of the workplace will be affected.

Hampers productivity

Of course the time spent gossiping in the workplace could have been used more productively. But more than just the time and resources, a culture of gossiping affects individual outputs. Some employees would not work well with people because of the strained relationships. Also, work-related discussions become personal and unproductive. In the end, working together seems to be a slogan that no one really values.


Decreases professionalism

Encouraging gossip in the workplace is like a vortex that can suck many people in. When it is not excised from the corporate culture, it will pull down professionalism. When gossip is perpetuated in the office, it sends a negative message that it is tolerated.

Creates emotional and psychological stress

Poor productivity comes from many sources. One of which is stress. Adding gossip into the mix of stressors in the workplace, employees will definitely have more things to carry on their shoulders. As much as we do not want it to happen, some individuals will work less effectively with others especially because of gossips floating around the office.

Can be costly

The wasted resources can sap out the business organization’s funds. From the lag in productivity to the possible law suits, gossiping can deplete a company’s resources.

At first, gossiping may seem harmless but it can turn out to be a dark side of the corporate culture. The truth is I have not seen any organization that did not have some form of gossiping present. Some companies experience an outbreak comparable to the bubonic plague while others are more subtle and covert. Likewise, its effects range from the manageable to the downright war zones. How is it in your office? Has gossip taken its toll on your employees or is it still manageable?

Quick Queries:

  • How serious is the office gossip in your workplace?
  • What is the company doing about office gossip?
  • Have you been a subject of any office rumors? How did that affect you?


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    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 4 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      Hello there Poshbytori,

      Stress from office gossip can really pull down productivity. Companies must learn ow to deal with gossip early on and implement measures to prevent its disastrous effects. I appreciate your comments. See you around.

    • Poshbytori profile image

      POSH by tori boutique 4 years ago from 1545 Union Lake Road, Commerce, MI, 48382

      Absolutely true - and it's not limited to just offices - I own a retail store and I am faced with the exact same issues. Productivity is without a doubt impacted by gossip - not only is the person being gossiped-about stressed, but the others spend their time participating in gossip. As an owner, I suggest finding the root of the gossip (which, from my experience has been one person) and eliminating them or finding ways to cut off their gossip methods. EXCELLENT article!

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 5 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      Hi Mike,

      We all have our little secrets. Buit what's important is not to let these little secrets fly around in the office. :)

    • profile image

      Mike 5 years ago

      I have my share of office gossips. It's not pretty. Although it can be interesting it can ruin lives.

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 5 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      Hello twoseven. It's one thing to share personal information with co-workers. It's a way to connect with others and build bonds. However, what makes it dangerous is when people start going out of line when it comes to personal information.

      Also, the no-closed door policy is one way to minimize gossip. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the matter.

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 5 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      Hi Crystal Tatum. I believe gossip is a company's cancer. It can creep up on an organization and slowly destroy it.

    • twoseven profile image

      twoseven 5 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

      Great point! I wonder if a company of that size actually fosters more gossiping, because I had a very similar experience in a workplace of about the same size. I feel like it's small enough that everyone knows a decent amount about each other, but big enough that you can talk about other people without them necessarily knowing. I thought a lot about how, in my last work place, if I was in charge I would have implemented a no closed door policy. That's where a lot of the gossiping went on, and I think it created a bit of a culture of mistrust.

    • Crystal Tatum profile image

      Crystal Tatum 5 years ago from Georgia

      This is all very true and I like that you've generated so many hubs related to this topic. Gossip is one of the most harmful things we can do to one another and to ourselves. It's character assassination, essentially.