Do politics and work mix? The answer is, “It depends.”
The good thing about presidential campaign politics is that it can bring people together at work. The bad thing about it is that it can bring people together at work.
And that raises two questions: 1. Should you try to put a lid on political talk in the workplace? 2. Can you?
When to step in
Let’s answer the second question first. Yes, you can restrict what people say and when they say it. The First Amendment to the Constitution doesn’t give people a blank check to say whatever they want whenever they want. Believe it or not, the Founding Fathers recognized that you’ve got a business to run.
The answer to the first question is a little trickier. But most experts say to take a laid-back approach.
Or look at it this way: Did you try to stop discussion in your company the Monday morning after the Super Bowl? Of course not. People are going to chat about some topics, and if they’re not talking politics, they’ll be talking about something else.
Your best bet: Deal with over-the-edge types individually. If their political discussions get intimidating or disruptive, give them a warning to lighten up. If they ignore the warning, you or another manager can and should take action. Just make sure the you apply discipline uniformly and it’s not perceived as singling out anyone.
But let’s get to the important part. Did we mention that you’re crazy if you don’t vote for …