In 2016, it was found that 32% of workers reported a steady increase in hostility in the workplace following political discussion – a rather shocking number of people to feel bullied, singled out or simply cast aside based on their political opinion.
It is human nature to judge, despite trying not to, and it seems that opinions that are prevalent in politics are not going unnoticed in the office. What does this debating do to our workplace morale?
Given that world politics have an effect on everyone, it is no surprise that conversations regarding political party choices and voting can turn sour. In a business environment such as the workplace, this is something that comes up often, whether in relation to the UK or the world. The news consistently blasts us with stories of dodgy politicians who fail their constituencies and it is a well-known fact that with money constantly changing hands, those who do wrong in politics are protected.
UK vs US
2016 has really been the year of ‘nope’ for most people. With the UK firmly voting out of the EU and the US firmly voting in Donald Trump, conversation, arguments and debates have divided workplaces. It is almost impossible to be in the workplace and not talk about who you voted for in which election and which way your pen strikes when you enter the ballot box.
The morals and the merits of both sides of the elections have been hashed out time and again and these recent office arguments have left a lot of people feeling isolated and afraid to share their thoughts. As a species, we all have individual ideas and it is our given right to free speech; however, the problem with free speech is that others have to hear it and when they do not like our ideas, they tend to be vocal about it.
The workplace is the one steady place in the world where people from all cultures, religions and creeds come together with a common purpose. If you work in a sales team, you work together to push the best sales for your company; if you are on a construction site, you work together to create an architect’s vision. Whatever the background, there is bound to be some harmony and some friction.
While you cannot possibly prevent political discussions, debates and arguments at work, you can remind employees that there is a level of tact required. Your work personality and the personality you display outside the office do not have to clash at work. You do not have to air your political opinions; even if you expect people to have a neutral opinion, it is best not to anyway.
Workplace harmony is so important for the success of a company. If there is hostility and upset at work, the productivity of the employees as a whole simply will not flourish.
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