A survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management found that more than one in five workers witnessed increased anxiety and stress among their fellow employees leading up to last year’s Election Day.
The SHRM Research Institute poll revealed that, just over one in 10 workers (12%) witnessed peer-to-peer animosity among colleagues and 13% said they witnessed an increased number of employee complaints related to political discussions at work prior to the midterms.
“These results affirm that organizations have a lot of work to do when it comes to establishing healthy, supportive workplace cultures,” said SHRM President Johnny C. Taylor, Jr. “When employees are anxious or seeing bullying occur due to political differences, the entire enterprise will suffer.”
SHRM researchers also found that workers in swing states were more likely to describe their general mood as anxious leading up to the midterm election (37%) compared to post-election (27%).
Workers in non-swing states were more likely to describe their political discussions leading up to the midterms as informative (71%) compared to workers in swing states (61%), SHRM reported.
Workers were more likely to say they engaged in political discussions regarding the outcome of the midterms at work (57%) than engaged in political discussions leading up to the election (48%).
Just over 10% of human resources professionals reported witnessing increased stress (14%) or anxiety (13%) among employees in their organization leading up to the elections.
In addition, 11% of respondents witnessed a decrease in productivity, 11% increases in leave taken and 9% the increased use of sick days.