Discussing Politics In The Workplace: Bad Idea

November is right around the corner. It is an election year and there are midterm congressional and gubernatorial seats up for grabs. Because of the 24-hour news cycle and prominence of social media, we are all bombarded by political news in our everyday life. How can you prevent political ideologies from dominating the discussion within your office?

First, let’s begin by discussing why politics in the workplace can be a negative thing. The primary reason why companies and organizations should refrain from discussing politics in the office is because politics is like religion, people are extremely passionate of their ideas and often get offended or defensive when opposing ideas are advocated. This can lead to a tremendous distraction in terms of work productivity. When people get distracted by tumultuous conversations about politics, it is likely to consume their time and therefore remove them from their daily duties within the company. A second major reason as to why political conversations in the workplace should be avoided is because a majority view on any political issue can be translated or perceived as the company’s stance on a particular issue. This can be a very dangerous thing. Just as employees may be passionate about their politics, customers are too. If a perception becomes dominant that a particular company has its political leanings in a specific direction, there can be an affect as to your bottom line.

With the rationale being understood as to why political discussion in the workplace is a bad thing, let’s discuss various ways that these conversations can be prevented. Typically, concepts like these are best served through top-down policies within a company. The stage should be set by the management team that politics have no place in the workplace. Whether it is through explicitly stating this to all employees, or finding more creative and funny methods of explaining this point, it needs to be done. Another way to ensure that political discussions don’t arise is to limit external exposure to political news such as relevant websites like CNN, Fox, Politico.com or through political news television. Reinforcing management’s opinion against political discussions is critical and can be best accomplished by stopping it from the first time it occurs.

Political participation is critical for the development and growth of our country, and therefore we advocate that every American get involved and learn about the issues. However, doing so during work hours is not the best way to do so. It distracts you from accomplishing your daily duties at your company, and it also sparks debates and can end up providing the perception of political leanings of your company. Both of these things should be avoided at all cost.

Does your company or organization have any issues with talking politics too often in the office? If so, what do you do about it or how do you feel about it? How much of an issue has it become within your company? We would love to hear from you. Leave us a comment below to keep the conversation going.