Written by Ife Adedapo - Nigeria
Some discussions have been identified by human resource managers as inappropriate in the workplace.
This is because they have been discovered to cause loss of concentration and focus among employees.
Moreover, business owners believe that main objectives of the organisation in the long run may not be achieved if such discussions continue unchecked.
Professionals say it is common to have such discussions in the office because most people spend a better part of their day in the office and their confidants are also their colleagues at work. However, experts advise that the discussions people should have within the confines of the office should be work-related.
Human resource experts have pointed out that professionalism should be maintained at work and personal discussions left till after work hours.
According to them, some of these topics that have high engagement can lead to arguments, uproar or create an avenue for gossip.
It has been discovered that the consequences of uncultured deliberations may also affect the people involved and can tarnish their reputation or damage their chances of promotion.
Experts have pointed out some issues which should never be discussed at work and they include:
Professionals say talking about the problems you have with your family will reveal your weaknesses. When you discuss problems you are having with others, your co-workers and your boss may wonder if those problems are distracting you from doing your job. They say this should be avoided, especially if the person involved is not in a position of authority.
The Managing Director, Bestway Corporate Services, Mr. Victor Abayomi, says the co-workers may share this information with the management, which could lead them to believe that your family problems could affect your work.
He says, "The office is strictly a business place; therefore, marital issues should be kept away from it. It also brings disrespect to the person involved."
Experts say no one is interested in listening to what you and your partner did last night in bed. Sex should never be a topic of discussion at work because your partner probably will not be happy that you are relating intimate details of your sex life to others and such discussions may make other co-workers feel uncomfortable.
Even talking about sex or sexual preferences can be interpreted as sexual harassment, which is something you obviously want to avoid.
A Marketer at Megabound Investments Limited, Mrs. Foluso Ogundiwin, says, "Sexual relationships should be kept away from work because they are intimate issues and nobody's business. Besides, it does not add value nor improve productivity."
Experts say religious beliefs or individual thoughts and discussions at work should be avoided because they are sensitive issues. Religion is a very personal issue and people are very sensitive to it. People will not want to hear that you disagree with their religious beliefs or that you believe your religion is the one in which everyone should believe.
Ogundiwin notes that religious discussions will give the impression that you are harassing or discriminating against other people based on their religious beliefs. Furthermore, talking about religion can prompt volatile disputes that will keep everyone from doing their job. It opens the company as well as the employees up to possible lawsuits and creates a needless havoc.
Experts say major health problems should not be talked about at work. Doing this, they say, will give your colleagues and boss a reason to question your competence for the job. However, they note that serious health issues that will cause people to take permission off work must be discussed with their employer.
Ogundiwin says the details of an employee's health should be kept between their spouse and the family doctor.
A career planning professional with two decades of experience, Dawn McKay, says the following discussions should also not be encouraged in the office:
Talking about how you want to move on to something bigger and better will certainly, for good reason, make your boss and co-workers to question your loyalty to your current job. If you are interested in moving up within your current organisation, your actions will speak louder than words.
McKay says, "Do your job exceptionally well, and of course, let your boss know you want to move up, but don't make it the topic of workplace conversations with anyone."
Human resource managers note that talking about politics may lead to a needless debate, which can divert other people's attention from their responsibilities.
Moreover, Mckay says that politics is a sensitive issue, particularly around election time. While you may feel very strongly about your political party or candidate, or have negative views about the opposition, he says care must be taken because an impression that you want to win your co-workers over to your point of view may be created.
According to him, everyone is entitled to their own opinions and you don't want to offend others.
Even though you may be making more or less than the guy at the next office, you do not want to start a wave of jealousy or anger, Mckay says. In addition, he says people should avoid talking about benefits, potential raises or anything else work-related other than your specific job.
"If you are planning on leaving your company for a better job, keep it to yourself until you have handed in your resignation because you do not want things like that getting back to your boss, who probably will not be pleased with your decision," he says.