The majority (eight in 10) of employees believe their company uses a consistent method of communicating news or announcements. Of those who work for a company with a consistent method of communicating information, 59 percent say this method is via e-mail. In workplaces without a consistent method of communicating news, 31 percent say that an “off the record” conversation with a supervisor is their first source of news, with office gossip a close second at 28 percent.

Those are the findings of the Workplace Index Survey on the Nature of Work in 2007, sponsored by Steelcase, a global office environments manufacturer, and conducted by Opinion Research Corporation.

Despite the survey findings that most companies are consistent in their formal communication, the survey makes it clear that office gossip is here to stay. Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of respondents say that people in their company gossip about company news all, most, or some of the time. And 76 percent report that office gossip is actually right always, usually, or some of the time.

“The way news travels at work—both formally and informally—is fascinating to watch,” says Chris Congdon, manager of corporate marketing for Steelcase. “Every workplace has the person or persons who know the scoop. At Steelcase we call those people hubs. Others have the ability to grant access to people or information in the office; these are gatekeepers. Knowing who these people are and how information flows within an organization grants great insight for management and can be leveraged for increased productivity through space planning.”