Oversharing Personal Information in the Workplace?

Thank God I’ve never had shingles. But now I know all about them, including what they look like—-thanks to one of my employees. We’ll call him Norman, to protect the innocent. He came flying into my office the other day telling me all about his condition. He then lifted up his shirt to show me the rash. (While he had my attention, he whipped out a stack of photos of him in his new sea kayak.)

Now, I’m as sympathetic as the next guy, but really, WHY did I need to know that? This is supposed to be a workplace. If you ask me, this “over-sharing” is really over the top. Blame it on blogging (OK, I know that’s what I’m doing here), Facebook, reality shows, whatever. How is any of this TMI going to help me run my business?

Maybe this is Norman’s way of making a point. He wants (or needs) me to see him as a whole person, not just for that 9-5 slice when he works as our safety manager. How are you handling that balancing act? There’s a fine line between making time to understand what’s going on in an employees personal life that may be creating workplace stress or distraction on the job, and spending valuable work time chattering about mold-removal techniques for the upstairs bathroom.

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