Even though office gossip is generally frowned upon, many studies show that gossip in organizations is not only inevitable, but can even be a positive communication tool. However, by gossiping in the wrong way, employees can easily lose the trust of their colleagues and be perceived negatively very quickly.
Research shows that people who claim to never gossip tend to be considered as socially inept, but those that are constantly gabbing at the coffee machine are quickly seen as untrustworthy. There is an optimal amount of time one should gossip – somewhere in the middle – which we call the sweet spot of gossip. However, it’s not only the amount of time one spends gossiping that will make or break an employee or manager. Other factors such as credibility, what we gossip about, whom we gossip with, culture, and place, all play an equally crucial role in the art of gossiping successfully at work. Finding the right balance for all of these factors is of the essence.