How should we navigate workplace conflict due to political differences? I would appreciate any help on this topic.
Most employers, managers and supervisors would rather you not discuss politics, religion and sex at work. They don't particularly care to have their offices being turned into a war zone with employees turning on each other for reasons that have nothing to do with the business of the employer.
Not discussing politics, religion and sex in the office is just about the safest way to prevent disputes about politics, religion and sex from escalating in the office.
Ideally management will ask people not to discuss politics etc. But if they don't, even after you ask them to, there's still options. FWIW I have been working through this list in our office because we have the problem too.
- Ask the coworker(s) not to discuss the topic(s) when you're around
- If they persist, remind them that you would rather they did not.
- Leave the work area. This may not be an option for you, but I have begun walking into my boss's office and saying "X is talking about politics again, what's happening with you". I think he gets my point that I'm not getting anything done at my desk. Or you could just have a cup of tea, a walk outside, or whatever. Alcohol may also help, if that's allowed.
- Leave the workplace. If you have flexitime, this may be a good time to use it.
- Look for other employment. Transfer within the company, or just plain find another job. Despite what some people say, it's perfectly legitimate to change jobs because of an unpleasant work environment. Idiots discussing their unpleasant politics counts.
I suggest not getting involved, even if it is very tempting. You're likely to inflame the situation rather than calm it. Your goal is, after all, to stop politics being discussed.