Office Lifestyle: Handling Conflicting Politics
Election season may be over, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that workplace political discussions will follow. You may have a divided office. Some employees are happy about the results and some are not. Talking politics at the office is a tricky subject and can lead to heated discussions. How do you keep your office lifestyle free from partisan conflict?
Make sure your workplace has clear policies about discussing hot-button topics like politics. Private companies have the right to prohibit political speech, unless it’s about an issue related to work. Assign designated areas to limit the disruption of non-work related conversation. Desk-side talk isn’t appropriate, but a conversation in the break room off the clock may be allowed. Either way, head off problems before they start by developing guidelines.
Putting a policy in place is only half the battle. Address all violations of the policy regardless of content. If an employee complains about feeling uncomfortable, take those issues seriously. Focus on the negative impact on productivity instead of the actual subject matter.
Take It Outside
Encourage employees to get involved outside the office by volunteering with their organization of choice and/or helping with polls. During election season, make sure employees feel they can vote during work hours. Getting involved outside the workplace is a great way to channel your energy and still contribute towards a culture of community service.
Proceed With Caution
It’s impossible to avoid all treacherous topics at the office. Here are a few guidelines for entering those conversations.
- Be open minded. Ask questions and listen to the response.
- Respect others’ rights to have an opinion, even if you disagree
- Seek common ground. We all want the best for this country, our families, and our community.
- Agree to disagree and stop the conversation if it becomes too heated.
By setting clear policies and guidelines, it is possible to navigate post-election waters. Keep yourself in check. Don’t say anything that would jeopardize a working relationship. You all have to work together tomorrow, regardless of political leanings!