Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Discussing Politics at Work: Do or Don't?

With Election Day and its outcome the topic on everyone's minds, it is not uncommon for conversation topics to shift to political issues, which can get heated with differing opinions. While discussing politics at work any time of the year can be a touchy subject, the election season tends to bring out the more passionate conversations, especially since politics affect so much about how we work and live. Shala Marks from outlines some do’s and don’ts to discussing politics in the workplace.


Be respectful
Keep in mind that there will always be people who do not agree with you, not just in politics, but in everything. Remember to be considerate and respectful in political conversations, and don’t fly off the handle as soon as someone says something that you disagree with. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and shouldn’t be ridiculed or belittled because it differs from someone else’s, especially at work.

Keep your perspective
Remember that after election season is over, you will still have to work with your co-workers, regardless of who is placed in office. The office should not be a place to spout your political views, but a place to work.

Stay professional
Again, remember that in the end, the office is a workplace, not a place to voice political opinions. Respect those with differing opinions, and don’t resort to raising your voice or name-calling. 


Don’t openly discuss politics at team meetings
The office is a place not for political discussions, but for work discussions. Avoid using blanket statements about a political party, as they could alienate your employees. 

Don’t send promotion emails
An email encouraging your employees to vote for one political candidate over another is a big no. While there is no problem with encouraging your employees to go out and vote on November 6th or during local elections, do not send emails discussing the benefits of voting one political party over another.

Don’t hold political parties
A party favoring one candidate, whether or not there is a party for both parties, can make your employees feel uncomfortable and feel like they have to “choose sides” in the workplace. If you would like to have a party, hold one outside of the office during non-work hours.

As a good rule of thumb, it’s a good idea to avoid political discussions in the work place. Encourage your employees to discuss other topics, and if the subject does arise, be mindful of the attitude of your employees and the reactions of those around them in the office.

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