Do Politics and Work Mix?

Ministers resigning and cabinet shuffles in Canada. A contentious US election. There is much to talk about in the world of politics these days. But is the topic safe to talk about at work?

It depends, new research from global staffing firm Robert Half shows. Workers were asked “Is it appropriate to discuss politics with coworkers?

Yes, it is appropriate                                                               15%
Maybe, depending on the situation and people involved        66%
No, it is not appropriate                                                           19%

Additional findings: 

Workers across Canada varied only slightly in response; 18 per cent of workers in both Toronto and Montreal felt political conversations are appropriate versus 10 per cent in Vancouver

“While it can be tempting to engage in political discussions in the workplace, it is important for professionals to be respectful of opinions and perspectives that differ from their own,” said David King, senior district president of Robert Half in Canada. “Being considerate in these exchanges is critical to help avoid miscommunication and unnecessary conflict, as these can be catalysts for compromising productivity and morale.” 

Three tips for navigating political talk with colleagues:

  1. Tread lightly. If you choose to participate in political conversations, keep it light and constructive. Should the discussion become confrontational, move onto another subject. 
  2. Decline politely. Don’t feel pressured into sharing your political views. It’s okay to bow out of a conversation and let others know you prefer not to chime in. 
  3. Speak up. If your colleague says or does something that makes you uncomfortable, pull the person aside and explain what’s bothering you. For more serious matters, consult your manager or human resources.

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Joel Kranc
WRITTEN BY
Joel Kranc
Joel is the Deputy Editor of Your Workplace magazine
Smiling woman. By Gabriel Silverio of Unsplash.com

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