Did you hear? Remote workers longing for office gossip

Gossip, the thread of whispered conversation and conjecture that once flowed through the workplace, has dwindled in our new network of home offices and half-empty headquarters. 

The rosy and righteous among us might say good riddance to office gossip. And surely at some employers there’s now less drama. But there’s a lot we miss. 

In a recent survey of 504 employees and business owners by law firm Seyfarth Shaw, the top thing people reported longing for after a year of remote work was “in-person and ‘grown-up’ workplace conversations.” 

It gets a bad rap, but gossip can relay positive news, like when you pass along that a co-worker crushed it at a presentation. It also provides stress relief and intellectual stimulation, helps people gain influence and fosters interpersonal intimacy, The Wall Street Journal reports. 

Gossip can be an early-warning system, says Nancy Halpern, a New York City-based leadership consultant who helps executives navigate office politics. The verbal undercurrent also serves to counter any overly upbeat or sanitized formal corporate communications coming from on high. On the other hand, it can bring grievances to managers’ attention that employees don’t feel comfortable saying to their faces. 

A year into the pandemic, and many workers are feeling the absence of this type of office chitchat. Read the full story.