This year’s presidential campaign is taking a toll on American workers, some of whom report feeling stressed, argumentative and less productive because of political discussions on the job, according to a survey by the American Psychological Association (APA).
Among all workers surveyed, nearly half (47%) said people are more likely to discuss politics in the workplace this election season than in the past. Although a majority of working Americans (60%) indicated that people at work are generally respectful toward others with differing political views, more than one-quarter (26%) have witnessed or overheard their coworkers arguing about politics, and about one in 10 (11%) have gotten into an argument themselves. Overall, more than one-quarter of working Americans (27%) reported at least one negative outcome as a result of political discussions at work during this election season.
More than half of respondents (54%) said they avoid discussing politics with colleagues, and 20% reported avoiding some coworkers because of their political views.
Although some workers have bonded with their colleagues over political discussions this election season, with nearly one-quarter reporting they feel more connected to coworkers (24%) and have a more positive view of them (23%), a small but significant number of employees reported a more negative view of coworkers, and said they feel more isolated from them, perceive more workplace hostility and that team cohesiveness has suffered (13% each).
As a result of political discussions at work this election season, at least one in 10 working Americans said they have felt tense or stressed out (17%), have been more cynical and negative at work (15%), have had more difficulty getting work done (10%), have been less productive at work (13%) and that their work quality has suffered (10%).NEXT: Men vs. Women, and Younger vs. Older Workers
Men were more than twice as likely as women to have said they regularly discuss politics with coworkers (28% vs. 13%, respectively). Similarly, nearly twice as many men reported feeling isolated from their coworkers because of political discussions (16% vs. 9%) and 18% of men said workplace hostility has increased, versus 8% of women.
Compared to women, more than twice as many men reported that they have had more difficulty getting work done (13% vs. 6%), that their work quality had suffered (14% vs. 5%) and that they had been less productive at work (18% vs. 7%) as a result of political discussions at work this election season.
For younger workers (ages 18 to 34), 28% said political discussions at work have made them feel stressed out; 23% reported feeling more isolated from their coworkers; and 25% said workplace hostility has increased. Nearly one in five younger workers (18%) reported having an argument with a coworker about politics.
More than one in four younger employees said they have a more negative view of coworkers as a result of political discussions at work (26%), and that they avoid some coworkers because of their political views (28%).
Compared to older generations, younger workers were more likely to have reported that political talk has negatively affected their work performance, with nearly one-quarter saying they have been less productive (24%), 21% citing a decline in work quality and 19% reporting having difficulty getting their work done.The "Politics in the Workplace: 2016 Election Season" survey was conducted online on APA's behalf by Harris Poll from August 10 through 12, among 927 U.S. adults who are employed full- or part-time.
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