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Political talk at work leaves employees stressed out, survey finds

Discussions and Arguments About Politics

Photo: American Psychological Association
Center for Organizational Excellence

Washington – More than 1 out of 4 younger workers feel stressed out by political talk in the workplace, according to the results of a survey conducted by the American Psychological Association.

A nationally representative sample of 927 U.S. adults who work full-time or part-time were surveyed online in August. Results showed that 25 percent of employees reported being negatively affected by talk of politics at work during the current election season, with workers ages 18 to 34 more strongly affected by feelings of isolation, greater perceived hostility and difficulty finishing work.

Other findings:

  • 17 percent of respondents said political talk at work has made them feel “tense or stressed out,” 15 percent said it has made them more negative at work and 10 percent said they have more trouble finishing work.
  • 13 percent said the workplace was more hostile.
  • 47 percent said people were more likely to talk about politics at work during this election season than in seasons past.
  • 54 percent said they avoid discussing politics with co-workers.
  • 20 percent reported that they avoid certain co-workers because of their political views.

“The workplace brings people together from different backgrounds who might not ordinarily interact with each other. When you add politics to the mix – a deeply personal and emotional topic for many – there is potential for tension, conflict and problems for both employees and the organization,” David Ballard, director of APA’s Center for Organizational Excellence, said in a press release.

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