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A recent CareerBuilder survey reveals that “Thirty-six percent of workers reported they discuss politics at work. Forty-three percent expect they will be talking about this year’s presidential election with co-workers.”

Much of the time, such discussions about politics in the workplace can be friendly, but the survey reveals that:

“23 percent of workers who have discussed politics at work reported they had a heated discussion or fight with a co-worker, boss or someone else higher up in the organization. One-in-ten workers said their opinion about a co-worker changed after they discovered that person’s political affiliation, with most stating it changed for the negative.”

Such confrontations about politics are problematic when it comes to professionalism in the workplace, since 10 percent of workers report that these conversations reflect their opinion about someone else.

If you want to maintain your professional presence, then it is best to avoid having political discussions in the workplace. It may be difficult to avoid in a contentious election year, but it is best that your workplace performance is not overshadowed by your political leanings or opinions. People are more likely to respect your professionalism in the workplace if you are able to rise above office gossip and political banter.

How to Maintain Your Professionalism in the Workplace

1. Do not send email forwards from your work email address.

2. Politely excuse yourself from heated political discussions.

3. Avoid casual partisan jokes at work.

4. Don’t display political paraphernalia at the office or in the company parking garage.

5. Respond neutrally to anyone who tries to get you involved in a political discussion: “I prefer not to discuss my beliefs at work.”

6. Be prepared to change the subject.

How do you maintain your professional presence?

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