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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 creativegroup.com.