Tips to Help Manage Political Discussions in the Office

You may prefer to run a non-partisan business, but during an election year those political conversations inevitably pop up. And suddenly, an off-handed comment turns into a heated debate. To keep work-life civiluse these tips to manage political discussions in the office. 

Familiarize Yourself with Workplace Laws

When it comes to politics, workplace laws vary by state, industry and context. While everyone has First Amendment rights, these rights may not apply in the office. In other words, if someone shows up to work wearing a pro-gun hat, in most cases, you DO have the right to ask them to take it off. However, you’ll want to make sure you know what you can and can’t legally enforce.   

Establish Company-Wide Guidelines

To avoid confusion, clearly outline the rules in your organization’s employee handbook and explain these regulations to your team. Of course, you’ll need to strike a balance between being sensitive to everyone’s feelings and becoming a Draconian state. For example, you probably don’t want to ban employees from talking about the latest news story. But, asking workers not to hang political signs on their cubicles may be reasonable. 

Recognize Different Points of View

Most likely, you know employees who are die-hard Republicans AND employees who are die-hard Democrats. Just because you work together doesn’t mean you must share the same point of viewRather than fretting over these differencescelebrate your organization’s diversityIn the end, a variety of outlooks can help your business better relate to your customers (who also have a variety of outlooks).  

Encourage Tolerance

Ultimately, tolerance and empathy should be an integral part of your company’s culture. While an employee may not agree with a coworker’s view on abortion rights, they should at least try to see things from this person’s perspective. After all, everyone IS entitled to their own opinion. 

Teach Employees to Argue Effectively

Shouting matches don’t change people’s mind. Therefore, consider training your team to argue more effectively. Basic strategies such as identifying logical fallacies will allow workers to have more productive conversations about politics as well as work issues.  

Intervene If Necessary

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, workers will fall into an unproductive political argument. When this happens, your management team should be ready and trained to step in. Supervisors should know how to diffuse disruptive situations that have the potential to damage relationships. In addition, reminding employees who have stepped over the line about company guidelines can assist in preventing future outbursts.    

Are You Looking for More Office Management Tips?

Halpin Staffing Services publishes weekly blog posts on topics ranging from leveraging employees’ strengths to reducing turnover. And if you’re looking for talented and reliable workerswe can help with that too. Our recruiters place general labors, warehouse associates, skilled trades workers and office professionals in Racine, Wisconsin and beyond. Learn more about the advantages of hiring through Halpin today! 

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