- Impeachment-obsessed employees could be costing U.S. employers a staggering $2.1 billion per hour when they're watching the proceedings, according to new research from Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.
- Challenger derived this estimate using the average hourly wage — $28.18 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics — along with the number of Americans who use the internet at work, the percentage of employed Americans who work on an average weekday and the percentage of workers who discuss politics at work and are therefore likely to watch or follow updates on the hearing.
- The statement also noted that more than 20 million people tuned in to network and cable television to watch the Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford hearings, which did not include time spent listening to audio, live-streaming, watching online clips or following social media about the proceedings.
Employers are used to contending with workday distractions; the good news is that, unlike March Madness, for example, impeachment proceedings don't generate widespread employee brackets and betting, which can be problematic. The bad news is that impeachment proceedings won't likely generate worker camaraderie and morale boosts like a popular sports event can. Instead, employers are left with a lose-lose: productivity hits and, potentially, employee disputes over political opinions.
Seventy-two percent of workers reported that heated political arguments at work were a source of stress, according to a Randstad US survey. But only a fifth of workers said they'd support additional censure of political discussions. Over half (54%), according to Indeed research, are satisfied with the current level of political discourse. One-tenth feel too much speech is being censored, while twice that number (20%) want additional limitations.
As impeachment proceedings continue (and with the 2020 election less than a year away), organizations continue to ponder the best way to handle the intersection of work and politics. Some employees would like to work for employers that support political issues important to them, but only a quarter of respondents in a Clutch survey felt that way. In fact, two-fifths of respondents said company leaders should refrain from taking a political stand on industry-related issues.
But, overall, employees are expressing a growing interest in corporate social responsibility, and these initiatives can be powerful recruiting tools. What's more, employees say they expect employers to proactively nurture a culture of mutual respect and professionalism around politics and other contested issues to preserve morale, productivity and civility.