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Politics-Free Office -- Is there Such a Thing?

Politics-Free Office -- Is there Such a Thing?

Politics-Free Office -- Is there Such a Thing?

Since the rise of social media, businesses have had to contend with increasing distractions in the workplace. Now with increased remote working, the line between personal and professional lives is getting thinner and a politics-free-office may seem almost impossible to achieve. The situation worsens around inaugurations and other election-related events when workers can have disparate opinions about a given topic. In the past, it may have been recommendable to leave your political views back home for a politics-free office, if there is such a thing. Here are some insights into office politics and how to navigate the tight line.

The Rules Matter

Politics in the office isn't entirely bad. Discussions can be healthy for teams. However, political debates can be heated, and a small funny gesture or simple remark may be significantly offensive. As such, companies and businesses have rules to regulate politics in the workplace. It is vital to know all rules, which may include avoiding bringing political and campaign material to the workplace. To save yourself a trip to the human resources department, make sure you understand what you can and cannot do.

Things You Can Do

It is almost impossible to avoid politics entirely, but when the time comes to engage in discussions and express political views, you should know what's right to do and when to walk away. Here are two things you can do:

  • Play nice – Political discussions over lunch and break don't need to be lectures aiming to change one's opinion or party. Instead, you should approach them as general conversations with non-confrontational questions. Use light-hearted discussions with an open mind and genuine interest in other people's opinions.
  • Walk away from confrontations – If the discussions are starting to get heated, there's no point trying to change someone's opinions for the sake of winning. Simply walk away and live to engage another day when the atmosphere is calmer for reason and logic. There are various ways to walk away respectfully to avoid a senseless confrontation over political issues.

Things to Avoid

It is vital to avoid certain things at work if you know it will be offensive to some. As a rule of thumb, you should assume everyone in the room supports the opposite political party. This will allow you to plan your conversations for a healthy discussion from which you can learn. Here are two things you shouldn't do:

  • Never let your guard down – You should always be mindful of your political statements and actions, whether at work or home. A funny Facebook post during happy hour can change people's opinion about you and there's no need to tarnish your hard-earned reputation for a few minutes of satisfaction. Staying reserved and mindful will ensure you never come off as offensive, which gives room for healthy conversations.
  • Avoid heated issues – Some political topics are best left alone as they evoke so much emotion and split opinions that it is impossible to establish a concession between the opposing parties. There's no need to start a debate when you know it will end in confrontations and heated arguments.

Is It Possible to Have Politics-Free Offices?

Political arguments are healthy and part of our social lives, so it is difficult to avoid discussions at work or anywhere, especially during election years. However, it is essential to agree to disagree instead of resorting to heated back-and-forth. For managers, establishing clear rules to regulate what can and can't be done is vital to maintaining low-profile office politics.

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