This can be a dangerous territory as many people have strong opinions on the topic that can spark passionate and even aggressive conversation, which is not always well-suited to be discussed or debated at work.
There are best practices when it comes to handling these tense conversations in order to belittle the changes of it becoming heated and even putting a wedge between colleagues in the wake of a potential disagreement.
Take a look at our best tips towards handling these talks in the office in order to keep the peace.
Handling Political Conversations at Work
Find something to agree on
If you hear employees or coworkers talking about politics in the office, it is usually best to find something to agree on within the topic. This can be challenging as everyone has their own unique view and beliefs that dictate how they handle the conversation.
Making a blanket statement like, “I think we can all agree that this is an intricate topic with many variables and it may be best to table the discussion”.
This puts out there that you are recognizing that it’s an important topic, but that it has a tendency to spark disagreement, which may not be something that should be broached within work hours and among colleagues.
Table the discussion until later
Like mentioned above, it’s best to table the discussion until you are away from the office. If you do feel the need to discuss politics with colleagues, do it on your own time over lunch, dinner, or a drink.
At the beginning of the conversation, it could be useful to vow to not let opinions come between you, even if they are differing, or agree to stop the conversation if it gets heated in order to salvage your relationship overall.
Change the subject
If you walk into a conversation centering around politics by the water cooler, it’s wise to change the subject. You do not want to do this too abruptly and inadvertently hurt the feelings of whoever brought it up, but instead wait until an appropriate time to transition the conversation over to something relating to work.
Remove yourself from the situation
If the conversation becomes too much or if you think it is going to negatively affect your relationship with the person in the office, you can always walk away from it entirely.
Simply say that you want to get back to your work. Especially with someone that has intense and strong feelings towards their ideals or a specific candidate, it is unlikely they are going to change their opinion – so it maybe be better to simply disengage.
How a PEO Can Help
Now more than ever, politics are a sensitive topic that can cause tension within your office. To learn how to diffuse the situation across the entirety of your office, a PEO can help. To find the PEO that will best work for your business, give us a call today.