Sharing at work can be good. Oversharing is not.


The decline in the woman's work performance became a cause for concern, prompting Yasmin Sampson-Da Rocha to schedule another meeting with her. During the discussion, the woman finally opened up about the challenges she had been facing in her personal life. She had recently experienced the loss of her father, a breakup with her boyfriend, and a relocation to a new city. Reflecting on the situation, Sampson-Da Rocha realized that if she had been aware of these difficulties earlier, she could have alleviated the woman's workload to prevent her from falling behind.

This incident prompted Sampson-Da Rocha, a communication consultant in London, to consider the importance of sharing personal details in the workplace. She believes that despite the strides made due to the COVID-19 pandemic blurring the lines between personal and professional lives, there is still a hesitancy to discuss personal struggles openly. Sampson-Da Rocha aims to break down the stigma surrounding such conversations, advocating for a more transparent approach.

Sampson-Da Rocha, now 35 years old, has made a conscious decision to be more forthcoming about her own life. For example, if she is suffering from severe period pain, she will openly acknowledge it instead of attributing it to a general stomach bug, as she might have done earlier in her career. Similarly, if her toddler is unwell, she will inform her colleagues that she needs to leave to attend to her child's needs, ensuring she sets expectations about when she will return. However, she remains mindful of maintaining appropriate boundaries and not divulging excessive personal information.

According to Sampson-Da Rocha, the key is to be honest about situations that directly impact work, without delving into too much unnecessary detail. She believes that people often make the mistake of talking excessively about themselves or sharing information that can negatively affect their professional image. Shannon Duvall, the head of people and culture at a marketing services company, shares this sentiment and has observed that some younger workers, particularly those from Generation Z, tend to overshare in the workplace without realizing the potential repercussions on their professional reputation.

The concept of oversharing in the workplace goes beyond frivolous anecdotes about weekend activities and extends to discussions that may undermine an individual's standing with their superiors. Duvall gives an example of a young worker who, soon after completing the probationary period, asked for a raise because they wanted to buy a nicer apartment. Duvall and her team had to explain that such personal motivations shouldn't be the basis for salary negotiations.

While Duvall encourages a more casual and open environment in the workplace, she acknowledges that some boundaries need to be in place. This blurring of boundaries is often influenced by the younger generation's familiarity with social media platforms where personal and professional lives often intertwine. However, there are instances where oversharing becomes uncomfortable for colleagues, such as constant discussions about children, detailed accounts of sexual encounters, explicit medical condition descriptions, or explicit disclosures about personal lives that may be inappropriate.

Despite potential awkward moments, Sampson-Da Rocha believes that the benefits of increasing transparency and creating a more human work environment outweigh the discomfort caused by oversharing. She values open communication and feels it is better for someone to share more than necessary rather than withholding struggles that may affect their performance at work.  

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post