Talking politics in a digital workplace: 7 ways to keep it civil
Much like the recent presidential and vice presidential debates, talking about politics at work is bound to get heated, but appropriate workplace conduct doesn’t change just because employees are working remotely.
Employers that offer some simple guidelines or codes of conduct can be an easy strategy to keep one’s workplace civil, respectful and productive, a labor attorney says.
“Many people are not working in a traditional office right now because of the pandemic, but that doesn’t mean the rules of the road have changed,” says Mike Schmidt, labor and employment attorney with Cozen O’Connor, a Philadelphia-based law firm. “Digital devices may be blurring the line between private and professional conversations, but employees still need to be respectful of one another.”
Schmidt concedes that the current political climate is having a polarizing effect on Americans, and employers need to be ready to handle workplace conflict, should it arise. However, he doesn’t advise employers to discourage their workforce from discussing politics altogether — employers just need to set some ground rules.
“The election is highly charged because of who the candidates are and all the social issues that are hot right now,” Schmidt says. “You can have adult discussions about the issues without running afoul of workplace ‘don’ts’.”
Here’s a list of seven best practices Schmidt recommends for keeping political discussions in a virtual workplace productive and civil: