The Truth is Powerful

Opinion: Why banning politics at work may not help a company be more productive

The management of Basecamp, which makes project management and communications software, recently unveiled a new policy intended to eliminate disruptions at work, but its actions have led to the opposite result: chaos inside the firm. Dozens of employees, some of whom had worked for the Chicago-based tech company for over a decade, resigned after Chief Executive Jason Fried banned conversations on work accounts about politics and social issues.

“We don’t have to solve deep social problems, chime in publicly whenever the world requests our opinion on the major issues of the day, or get behind one movement or another with time or treasure,” Fried wrote to employees on April 26. “These are all important topics, but they’re not our topics at work — they’re not what we collectively do here.”

The reason behind the new rule was simple, according to Fried: discussing politics creates an unproductive environment and does not help the workers to focus on their mission. However, a third of the employees didn’t appreciate the changes, which also included trimming perks, eliminating “360 reviews” that allowed employees to evaluate their supervisors and abandoning in-house advisory committees.

In an open letter to Fried and his co-founder, David Heinemeier Hansson, some of […]

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