Political affiliations taboo at work?

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Are you scared to tell co-workers how you vote or what your political allegiances are? You're not alone. Half of British office workers worry that sharing political beliefs will make their colleagues think less of them, according to a recent survey.

Politics and religion are meant to be poor dinner party conversation, and the rule seems to generalize to work as well where a recent survey found 57% of workers would be uncomfortable discussing their voting habits. Of that group, a huge 87% said they felt their colleagues ‘would think less of them’ if they shared their own political affiliations.

A third of respondents would admit which party they supported if asked directly by a workmate, while a bold 11% told researchers they would openly broadcast which way they planned to vote.

More than a third of employees said they deliberately avoid political discussions in the office because they thought their views would be ‘unpopular’. However, fewer than one in 10 said that differing political views was actually a source of major office tension.

"It’s never been the same with my colleagues after I told them I was voting UKIP; some really take the mick, and one or two no longer speak to me," one respondent said.

A self-professed "swing voter" said they keep that information close to the chest.

"I’ve voted for all the main parties in my time but I would never dream of disclosing it to my colleagues. My boss on the other hand is a huge Tory so I tend to be centre-right when I’m around him – you never know, it may get me a promotion."

A spokesman for SaleLand.co.uk said: "The trouble with politics is that public opinion can change so quickly, so by pinning your political colours to the mast you could be popular one day but ostracized the next.

"However, it is very encouraging to see that only 9% of respondents found that politics caused serious animosity in the workplace."

A 2012 CareerBuilder report found 34% of Canadians would discuss politics at work, but 10% of workers said their opinion about a co-worker changed after they discovered that person's political affiliation. Most said it changed for the negative.

Would you tell colleagues who you voted for?

  • Kellie Auld on 2013-10-31 7:51:00 AM

    In British Columbia, it's a protected ground. It would seem, as your survey indicated; that relationships at work have been altered because of political beliefs (in a negative way)

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