Canadians Waste Up To One Week Gossiping Per Year

Don’t be fooled by Canada’s reputation for politeness – Canadian employees are more likely to engage in office scuttlebutt and rumours than their American counterparts.

A new Office Pulse study of 150 Canadian white-collar workers found that 75% said they gossip about workplace issues and/or coworkers while at work. That’s more than 72% of US respondents.

With all this chatter, is it any wonder that cliques persist in most offices? Some 71% say their office is at least somewhat cliquey, with more Canadians than Americans saying their offices are clearly split into social circles.

Is your office cliquey?


Yes (16%)
Kind of (55%)
Not at all (29%)

United States

Yes (12%)
Kind of (60%)
Not at all (28%)

Gossiping Away The Hours

While the mention of cliques may conjure up unpleasant high school memories, their effects aren’t all bad: just 38% of people who describe their offices as cliquey say they have felt jealous of a coworker, compared with 41% in non-cliquey offices. But while relationships might get a boost, productivity can suffer.

Workers in cliquey offices spend an average of 46.8 minutes a week gossiping, which adds up to 4.87 working days per year!

That’s nearly three times the time spent gossiping in non-cliquey workplaces, which see an average of 16 minutes a week, or 1.67 working days a year.

Whether they work in a cliquey workplace or not, Gen Xers spend the most time gabbing, gossiping for a minute longer than Millennials per week and a whopping 10 minutes more than Baby Boomers.

On average, how many minutes do you spend gossiping per week?

Gen Xers
Baby Boomers

The People Who Peeve Us

As for subject matter, ‘that one coworker’ was the most likely to be the target of tittle-tattle, with 72% of Canadians admitting to gossiping about a specific office mate. The characteristics that bother them, though, are less consistent – while a majority are bothered by passive aggressive people, nearly as many are irritated by know-it-alls or dramatic types.

What’s the worst kind of coworker?

The Good and the Bad of Gossip

With all that time ticking away, it should be a comfort that at least some professionals see the upside to gossip at the office. Those with a positive outlook found the rumour mill entertaining, and appreciated the de-stressing effects a banter session can bring. However, despite studies showing that workplace gossip can boost morale and strengthen relationships, it doesn’t seem that many workers felt those effects.

How would you describe workplace gossip?

It entertains me during the day (44%)
It relieves my work-based stress (42%)
It builds workplace relationships (25%)
It’s good for morale (6%)

No More Drama

Overall, Canadians seem inclined to do away with workplace rumours altogether. Some 59% of Canadian workers would like to get rid of office gossip, compared to just 48% of US respondents. Canadian women are especially eager to go drama-free, with 69% saying they would eliminate office gossip if they could.

That may come as a surprise, as most depictions of gossipy environments in movies and on TV depict it as a woman’s game. But men were found to be far from innocent – 12% of men copped to starting a rumour at the office, compared to just 5% of women.

Other Insights Include: 

  • 21% of Canadians have left a company due to workplace drama

  • 29% of Canadian women say their boss has asked them for gossip to learn about workplace issues, compared to just 12% of Canadian men

  • Of the 45% of Canadians who say they have been jealous of a coworker, just 6% say it impacted their relationship

While a quick gossip session may seem harmless, you may want to think twice before revving up the rumour mill. Despite gossip’s potential benefits, Canadians seem keen to leave drama in the dust. Now, to dream up how you’ll use those 4.87 working days you’ve just gained back!

About Office Pulse

Office Pulse by Captivate offers marketers timely analysis and insights from a proprietary panel of upscale professionals in the top markets. The Office Pulse panel of more than 8,000 influential consumers and business decision makers includes C-level executives, Millennials, middle management, small business owners, working women and working moms.

About Captivate

Known for its vast network of nearly 12,000 elevator displays located in 1,600 premier office buildings across North America, Captivate connects advertisers with 13 million unique monthly viewers through creative, research-driven and Nielsen-measured advertising and marketing programs. By engaging its viewers with timely news and actionable information that helps balance the personal and professional demands of the workday, Captivate provides advertisers with a highly desirable and difficult-to-reach audience of affluent and influential business professionals. Founded in 1997, Captivate is owned by Generation Partners. For more information, please visit