It seems a new political firestorm breaks out every day and everyone seems to be talking about it, right? Maybe there is and maybe everyone is talking about it but, talking about politics in the office is a big ‘no’ if you want to stay productive.

First of all, no one in the office really cares about your political views.  And two, why risk talking politics to your clients  when, likely, half of them will disagree with your views. That half, 50% of your clients, may even be offended by your political views and decide to work with another agent who doesn’t stuff those views down their throats.  Remember, it doesn’t even have to be a direct conversation either!  If your social media thread is filled with political commentary, potential clients from your sphere of influence who may decide to choose the agent who doesn’t raise their blood pressure with divisive Facebook memes.

The American Psychology Association (APA) recently published its 2017 Work and Well Being Survey.  Because politics is so prevalent as well as so divisive in our culture today, the APA focused specifically on politics and its effects on productivity and well being in the workplace.  Some +1,300 adults completed the survey online between 2/16/17 – 3/8/17. Here are some of the findings.

  1. 54% of the respondents say that they’ve discussed politics with their co-workers.
  2. 40% of the respondents say that discussing politics post election has caused at least one negative outcome in the workplace, outcomes such as reduced productivity, poorer work quality, difficulty getting work done, more negative views of co-workers, increased hostility, feeling tense and/or stressed.
  3. Prior to the election, 27% of the respondents reported negative outcomes caused by discussing politics in the workplace.  This increase is significant.

David W. Ballard, PsyD, MBA and Director of the APA’s Center for Organizational Excellence,  encourages managers and supervisors to “…whether its politics or any other difficult conversation…create a work climate where people with diverse opinions and backgrounds can work together towards common goals without their differences creating toxic climates.” He also encourages managers, supervisors, employers to promote a civil, respectful, trusting work culture that focuses on common goals and shared values.  He encourages work places to have clear policies regarding harassment and incivility so that the “rules of the game” are clear to everyone. Ballard likewise encourages employees to keep conversations civil and respectful whether or not people agree, to stay away from contentious issues and to walk away before someone says something they may regret later.

Likely, politics will continue to be pervasive in today’s culture.  Rather than risking it becoming a blood sport in the office, talk politics away from your workplace and away from the people with whom you work.

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