An idle mind is the workshop of the devil. If gossiping in the office is widespread, there are two causes: One employee idleness and two, managerial idleness.
Surprising it may be, many managers and supervisors indulge in gossip inside the office, not necessarily with their staff, but more likely with their peers and colleagues. Managerial idleness is one of the prime causes for it. A manager, after delegating work and conducting useful and useless meetings, if still left with nothing more to do, goes from cabin to cabin to engage in idle talk with other idle (or busy) managers, to kill time This exercise includes plenty of gossiping.
When managers are found whiling away their time in idle talk, the staff members too get enthused to emulate their bosses.
How to stop such unwanted and harmful gossips taking place around the office?
Attention Top management: Avoid managerial idleness
As said in the beginning, managerial idleness is one of the causes for gossip and rumor mongering. Many times, promotions are given to staff as a reward of their hard work, but at no point of time, the proportion of managers should be unnecessarily more than the staff strength that they are supposed to supervise. This has to be ensured by the top management. Managers are to be allotted with work and responsibilities that they should perform on their individual capacity other than those that they are supposed delegate.
Keep the staff engaged
Do not allow free time or idle time to the staff. Keep loading them with work; if there are not enough tasks to be carried out currently, engage them in futuristic tasks or engage them in house keeping.
Let the bug stop at you
If the office is gossiping about a possible shake out in the top management and they come to you seeking any juicy tidbits, stoutly deny any knowledge of such matters and ask them to concentrate on their work. Do not knowingly or unknowingly participate in their discussions and make yourself vulnerable to gossiping behavior.
Increase the male to female ratio
Women are more prone to gossiping. When the staff strength of the fairer sex is more, a good suggestion is to reduce female population in group tasks and increase the male population.
Nip in the bud
If any strong rumors or gossips are afloat about any indecent behavior between specific male and female members in the office, make sure whether any such behavior is really true and if so, call the concerned persons and issue veiled warnings. Or, if your position is not strong enough to take such an action, bring it to the notice of higher management.
If gossiping is widespread about a possible lock-out, a major loss in the company, a star performer in the top management quitting the organization, a take-over etc., it is important for the top management not to try and vehemantly deny any such bad news, but to rather inform through proper channels the reality of the situation.
Gossip and rumor mongering, if left unchecked, will gradually spread like contagious disease and gobble up productive hours in the office. Management should assiduously avoid such a happening inside the office.