Is it ever OK to talk about politics at work?

  • 60% of us think it’s fine to talk about politics at work
  • For 1 in 5 of us, politics forms part of our daily conservation
  • The majority of UK workers don’t think you should ask who someone is voting for
  • 10% of employers have tried to influence our political beliefs  

 

60% of UK workers think it’s OK to talk about politics at work, according to our latest research.

However, almost half of us wouldn’t share who we were voting for – indicating that our political beliefs and our professional lives should continue to be kept apart.

 

Office politics

With just hours to go until the upcoming general election, UK workers are about to head to the polls to cast their votes on one of the most important races in recent history.

But whilst conversations around politics have always been approached with caution in the past, almost two thirds of us now think it’s OK to talk about politics in the office – indicating that the UK workforce may be more politically aware than ever before.

 

Election night (and day)

Our research also indicated that workplaces aren’t just being influenced by the possibility of going to the polls.

In fact, although 30% admitted they only talk about politics at work when approaching an election, almost 20% said it’s part of their daily conversations.

And more than a quarter of us have the conversation on a monthly basis at least.

 

Asking about your ‘X’

OK, so we might be happy to talk about politics at work. But that doesn’t mean we think things should start getting personal.

An overwhelming 77% of those we surveyed said they wouldn’t dream of asking someone who they were voting for – indicating that their colleagues’ choices were none of their business.

Other reasons for not asking included worrying that it may offend, or just a general lack of interest in which way their political intentions lie.

 

Not getting the majority

When it comes to sharing your own decision, the nation was somewhat divided.

52% said that they were happy to talk to their colleagues about who they voted for, while 48% said they’d prefer to keep it to themselves – proving it isn’t just Brexit that seems to split the country.

Of those who voted ‘No’, the main reason given was to a preference to keep their own views private (58%), followed by wanting to avoid conflict with their co-workers (13%) and not wanting to get involved in politics at work (12%).

 

Easily influenced

Despite being relatively unwilling to ask about who our colleagues are voting for, that doesn’t seem to deter some of us from attempting to sway their decision.

30% said that their co-workers have tried to influence their political beliefs in the workplace.

And, perhaps most surprisingly, 1 in 10 admitted that their own employer has also tried to influence their political beliefs at some point in time.

So it might not just be our friends at work that we need to be mindful of when it comes to deciding whether to share where our intentions lie.

 

 

 

 

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  • Carl Harris

    Although I’ve voted ‘yes’ to discussing politics at work – it can be educational – I think it has to be managed in context with tact and the manager should have final say in whether or not such conversations suit the environment you’re working in. I once had the strange experience of having a member of a team I supervised raise a complaint against me for allowing the team to discuss certain political matters he didn’t think the team should be allowed to discuss. My response to his complaint was to point out he was the person most often responsible for starting the conversations he apparently didn’t like.