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5 Tips to Help You Avoid “Office Politics” at Work

July 7th 2022

The term “office politics'' covers a wide range of situations and a wide range of working environments. These tips can work in any workplace, from hospitality to manufacturing, not just inside an office.

Research has shown that most employees are not engaged at work and it is also believed that this is because of the politics that runs in offices. Politics and office relationships can be at times frustrating, stressful and demoralising. If handled wrong, they can affect your company's efficiency as well. Here are some tips you could use to ensure a healthy relationship and avoid getting dragged into office politics.

In fact these tips can be used outside of the workplace and whilst some might seem obvious, they can often be overlooked.

Don't gossip

This can be quite hard to avoid at times, as an innocent conversation can turn into gossip extremely quickly. Particularly if you are new to the company, it can be hard to be assertive and say "I don't think we should be talking about this" and can even create an awkward tension. Whilst it might not feel like this at the time, it sends a message that you don't want to partake in gossip and spreading information about people that you wouldn't say to them.

Whilst this may create some short term tension in the conversation, it will help overall long term to avoid negative situations. Avoiding such conversations can only be of benefit as it could lead to drama later down the road.

Be respectful towards other employees and their ideas

This doesn't mean you should just go along with everything everyone else says, but it does mean that you should give them the courtesy of listening to what they have to say without interrupting or dismissing them outright. You may find that some of their ideas are actually better than yours!

By taking in everyone’s ideas and listening to people completely, not only makes them feel valued, but it can also lead to the generation of even better ideas and productivity.

Be professional 

While it is true that all of us have our own unique personal preferences and personalities, the workplace is not the place for that. When you are in the office, you must be professional at all times. It is important to show respect towards your co-workers, even if you do not like them personally. This means being polite, dressing appropriately and keeping your emotions in check at all times. While it might seem like common sense, there are many people who get caught up in office politics because they forget to keep their emotions out of it.

Be a team player

This may seem obvious, but if you want to avoid office politics at work, then it is important to remember that you are part of a team. It is easy to forget this when you are trying to do your best at every task given to you by your boss or co-workers, but remember—you should always try to help other members of your team whenever possible. If someone asks for help, give it! If another member needs assistance with something that would benefit everyone, offer up your time and effort!

Don't take things personally

It's easy to get offended at what people say, especially if they're being mean-spirited or rude. Don't let it get to you—it's not about you! People talk behind each others' backs all the time, and it can be hard not to take it personally. But remember that these people don't know you well enough for what they say to hurt your feelings. They are just venting about their own frustrations or trying to make themselves feel better by making someone else look bad.

Whilst these ideas might seem obvious to you or to anyone, the chances are you have fallen into the trap on occasion. The workplace is filled with people from all walks of life and while many companies do their best to ensure a good working culture, there will inevitably be negative situations and confrontations. Sticking to these tips should reduce your negative experiences (and stress!) in your working and perhaps social life.

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