November 01, 2016

How to Handle The Upcoming Election’s Impact on Productivity in the Workplace

Upcoming Election & The Effect On Productivity

Are Political Discussions Hindering Productivity in Your Workplace?

With election day almost here, it is inevitable that employees will be talking about politics at work. While everyone is entitled to their own point of view, there are certain rules that should be discussed when discussing politics in the workplace. As an employer, it is important that you understand these rules. They ensure all employees feel comfortable at work, and that productivity is not lowered.

Political discussions can interfere with workplace productivity and employee morale. If employees disagree on certain issues, it can cause heated disputes in the workplace. Even when employees agree, long discussions can take up valuable work time. According to a recent survey released by the American Psychological Association, this year’s presidential campaign is really taking a toll on American workers. Some workers have reported feeling stressed because they are dealing with argumentative coworkers. Some are less productive because of political discussions going on in the workplace.  The survey revealed that more than 1 in 4 younger employees felt stressed because of political discussions at work. More than twice as many men as women also reported political talk is making them less productive. In addition, the survey showed that these groups were more likely to feel more isolated from their colleagues. Also, coworkers have a more negative view of peers due to political discussions in the workplace.

How to Keep Political Discussions from Halting Productivity at Work

As an employer, it is important for you to set the right example and rules for your employees. This ensures their rights are not infringed upon, but also ensure that work gets done. You have the right to set limits on your employees’ political activities and discussions during working hours. Start by establishing guidelines that prohibit things like wearing political clothing or bringing campaign material into the workplace. You can also prohibit employees from sending political emails to coworkers or using work time to tweet or blog about their political views.

If an employee is hassling another employee about politics, you do have the right to step in. Good managers do not want employees getting hassled at work, especially when it is creating a hostile work environment. If you are made aware of an issue between employees in the workplace, you should step in. By having strong and clear guidelines about politics in the workplace, you should not have an issue implementing the rules. It is also important to remind employees that there are standards of professionalism and common courtesy in the workplace.

Your Rights

While you can broadly limit your employees’ political activities and discussions at work, it is important to know what you cannot do. Federal law protects employees’ rights to discuss labor issues, such as wages and working conditions, with each other. For example, you cannot ban an employee from urging co-workers to support Candidate X “because he/she supports higher wages.” However, if labor issues are not being discussed, this federal protection does not apply.

If you need help creating a policy on political discussions in your workplace, please contact your trusted HR expert at Optimum Employer Solutions today. We are here to answer questions and ensure your compliance with state and federal law.

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