Millions of Americans tuned into last night’s second presidential debate. Today, they’re heading back to work with the election on their minds, and a recent APA survey showed that 1 in 4 of these workers have been negatively affected by office conversations involving the Clinton-Trump race.
The survey also showed that there is, unsurprisingly, a political division between generations and genders in the workplace. The report showed that those under the age of 34, 28 percent reported that political discussions in the office left them feeling stressed. 1 in 4 millennials reported that political debates in general, were leading to workplace hostility.
Workers over 45 reported that they were less likely than those under 44 to avoid coworkers because of their political views. Young workers were twice as likely to keep away from those who disagreed with their political views. To add to the stress of this election season, 47 percent of those surveyed said they were more likely to discuss this election than previous elections. All respondents reported discussing or hearing others discuss the election in the workplace.
So What Should Employers Do?
As an employer, it’s important to have guidelines on political discussions I the workplace. As this election becomes more stressful, having guidelines will keep employees on track and create a better work environment. Here are a few things you should do:
- Create a blanket no-soliciting policy. This includes prohibiting everything from voting discussions to Girl Scout cookies.
- If workers to solicit for specific candidates or parties, consult legal counsel before taking any action with the employee.
- Advise employees that workplace speech should be respectful and tolerant and that political discussions should be not held at all or be saved for after-hours.