Gossip a Mainstay of Company Communication

August 10, 2007 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Despite findings that companies are sufficiently consistent with their means of formal communication, a survey by Steelcase, a global office environments manufacturer, indicates, where formal communication is lacking, office gossip is a primary tool for company communication.

According to a press release, the survey of nearly 700 office workers in the United States revealed that the majority (eight in 10) believe their company uses a consistent method of communicating news or announcements, with 59% saying this method is via e-mail. However, in workplaces without a consistent method of communicating news, 31% said an “off the record” conversation with a supervisor is their first source of news, with office gossip a close second at 28%.

Nearly two-thirds (64%) of survey respondents said people in their company gossip about company news all, most or some of the time, and 67% reported that the gossip is actually right always, usually or some of the time, the release said.

The Workplace Index Survey on the Nature of Work in 2007, conducted by Opinion Research Corporation showed the water cooler is no longer the place to exchange the latest chit chat – only 1% of respondents said the cooler was for more than water. “Water cooler” conversations are more likely to take place in the office kitchen or break room (36%), at a co- worker’s desk, workstation or office (33%), or through e-mail or instant messenger (10%).

In addition, the survey found older workers are less likely to gossip than younger workers. Only 9% of those aged 18- 24 said they keep news quiet, compared to 19% of those 25-34, 34% of those 35-44, 39% of those 45-54, and 48% of those age 55-64.

More about Steelcase is at www.steelcase.com .