Dealing With Office Gossip

By Donna Farrugia, Executive Director of The Creative Group

If it seems like the level of water cooler chit chat at your office has declined over the years, you’re not delusional. Nearly two-thirds of advertising and marketing executives recently interviewed by The Creative Group said it’s common for employees to engage in office gossip, down from 84 percent four years ago.

What’s more interesting is that more than half of executives said office gossip is inoffensive or light-hearted in nature today, a significant turnaround from the 2008 survey results where nearly two-thirds said it had a negative effect on the workplace.

While casual conversations can lead to stronger work relationships and improved camaraderie, knowing how to deal with office gossip in a professional manner is crucial for career success. Following are three tips to help you handle it like a pro:

  1. Take everything you hear with a grain of salt. Before you act on something you hear, confirm that the information is true. Much of what you may hear may be false or so far from the original message that it’s no longer accurate.
  2. Contribute at your own risk. Work on the principle that whatever you say will be repeated; think about the implications of this before you speak. The same goes for communications you have online, including in emails or via social media, which can be even easier to pass along to a wide audience.
  3. Gracefully bow out. If you’re pulled into a conversation that you’d rather avoid, the best course of action is to remove yourself from the situation by letting others know you need to get back to work.

Donna Farrugia is executive director of The Creative Group, a specialized staffing service placing interactive, design and marketing professionals with a variety of firms. More information, including online job-hunting services, candidate portfolios and The Creative Group’s award-winning career magazine, can be found at

One thought on “Dealing With Office Gossip

  1. Ashleigh

    I don’t understand why you would even bother asking the executives about office gossip. Most of the time, gossip never even makes it that far because the execs don’t talk to the “little people”. I work on an in-house marketing team, and my boss never has a clue what’s going on outside our bubble. I live with a co-worker, from another department, and she’s due with her first child in the beginning of July. All the associates knew she was pregnant months ago, my boss just found out last week. I don’t think that gossip in the workplace has subsided, I think you’re just interviewing the wrong people. And for it not being malicious? I’ve been at the end of two malicious gossip attacks in the last year, by people I thought were friends and had done nothing to wrong them, they just wanted something to gossip about and I turned out to be a good opportunity. Sorry, but I think this article needs more research to support the statements.