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How To: Talk politics in the office

by MATT WOODHOUSE / MONDAY, 22nd May 2017


Warning minefield ahead!!

If there are two subjects that can really strike a nerve, it's politics and religion (with maybe football coming in a close third). That's not surprising really as it's the two things people go to war over.

Jeremy Corbyn looks like a Geography teacher who thinks he’s still down with the kids (maybe he is?), Theresa May eats public sector pensions for breakfast, and as for UKIP and Boris Johnson… well they’re sure to come up with some more comedy gold before long.

So, is it ok to talk politics in the office? It’s going to be tough to avoid at the moment with Brexit and a General Election on the way. Who knew I was such a natural politician at heart - because the answer isn't going to be a simple yes or no!

The truth is, it depends. It depends on the subject, the level of seriousness of the conversation, the views of those involved as well as a huge number of other factors. 

With the general election it's safe to say we will all have a slightly different view on what's important to us. Even MPs in the same party have differing views, it's why they are always arguing and backstabbing and basically ‘doing politics’. If we are all honest, no one completely agrees with everything a single political party says. We look at what they all have to say and pick the direction that best suits you.

Sometime, if you are lucky, the whole office will have the same view. School staff rooms a few years ago were all united against Michael Gove, there wasn't a single teacher in the land that didn't want to see the back of that guy - but not every situation is a clear as that. But most people do think Donald Trump is a bit of a wally. You can see why it’s important to know your audience!

To prevent any political discussions getting out of hand, try to focus the conversation on something that you all agree on. Maybe there is one aspect of the election that could really affect your business.  Everyone would be in the same boat with this and you will all have common ground here that you can all agree on.

My suggestion; keep it all light-hearted. If you do have some firm views don't worry if someone disagrees with you. It's important to disagree. It's what a free and democratic society is all about, but you don't want your office to turn into Westminster during PMQs.

Remember, after 8th June, whoever wins, we all still have to get on work together, so play nice!