Discussing politics at work is a no-no for Google. This is what the internet company told its employees recently. Google, which has long been known for encouraging people to speak their minds, asked its workers to focus on work instead of heated debates about politics with colleagues.
Updated workplace guidelines for “Googlers” called on them to be responsible, helpful, and thoughtful during exchanges on internal message boards or other conversation forums.
“While sharing information and ideas with colleagues help build community, disrupting the workday to have a raging the debate over politics or the latest news story does not,” the guidelines stated.
“Our primary responsibility is to do the work we’ve each been hired to do, not to spend working time on debates about non-work topics.”
The updated version of guidelines also pointed out that comments made internally by the company’s employees, no matter the intent, could go public and be wrongly attributed to the company, leading to mistaken impressions.
“We’re all free to raise concerns and respectfully question and debate the company’s activities — that’s part of our culture,” the guidelines read.
“Take care not to make false or misleading statements about Google’s products or business that could undermine trust in our products and the work that we do.”
Managers or those moderating forums were directed to intervene if the policy is violated, revoking comments, ending discussions, or even taking disciplinary action.
In recent years, Google employees have challenged the company on issues including sexual harassment in the workplace; bidding on contracts with US defense or immigration agencies; and the potential for tailoring its online search engine for use on China’s heavily censored internet.