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I voted | Mid-term election etiquette in the workplace

Mid-term election etiquette in the workplace

Is there such a thing as mid-term election etiquette at work? Mid-term elections are just around the corner across the United States.  And since employees today typically spend more time at work than anywhere else, is it possible to have peaceful politics at work? Is it okay to talk politics at all?

Many offices don’t mind a bit of friendly political banter around the water cooler or lunch table. In fact, some employers even provide nonpartisan educational materials and get-out-the-vote information onsite. But the workplace should not become a political battlefield.

According to a recent issue of Workforce Management, “Employers …have wide latitude in the workplace policies they can implement.” Some companies have policies on political expression; some do not. If policies are in place, hopefully these are clearly communicated.

But whether a policy exists or not, it’s important to know what’s appropriate in your company’s culture and to use a good dose of common sense.

Here are 5 tips for mid-term election etiquette for peaceful politics at work:

  1. Limit politics to break time. Remember you are at work—to work! Use your break or lunch time for friendly-only political chitchat. Or during after-work drinks, but it’s still a good idea to tread lightly!
  2. Control discussion time. After 3-5 minutes, you’ll know each others’ opinions. Change subjects to avoid an intense political diatribe.
  3. Stay respectful. Value the political views of others, even if you don’t agree. Don’t stir up political divisiveness which can lead to unwelcome heated discussions. It can be detrimental to your career advancement to come across as a political maverick. In addition, expressing political views to clients and customers may negatively affect the company.
  4. Don’t pressure others. If coworkers aren’t interested in the discussion, don’t insist that they share their point of view. If someone asks your opinion on a candidate, don’t ignore the question. Just say you’re considering “a candidate who has great character and cares about the issues that are important to me.” Then move to a new subject.
  5. Use discretion. Keep office and cubicle walls free of campaign paraphernalia and observe email professionalism, such as not sending late-night talk show jokes. Refrain from posting any political comments on your Facebook page. Even though your close friends may agree with your views 100 percent, posting anything political may not align with your customers’ and clients’s views, which could unfairly tarnish your hard-earned reputation.

With much at stake with mid-term elections, it’s hard to leave the political bantering at the office door. However, if you follow these  mid-term election etiquette tips, you can help ensure partisan peace at work.

Want more tips on workplace etiquette? You may like to read: How NOT to Annoy Your Coworkers.

If your company is looking for professional business etiquette training for leadership groups, Rachel is happy to speak with you about options. You may contact her at 918.970.4400 or email her at Rachel@EtiquetteTrainer.com.

Photo credit: Parker Johnson on UnSplash