Washington has been abuzz with speculation about how a midterm election will turn out, but workers in some top corporate offices have been using their best minds to go to the polls for hours every Tuesday.
According to data collected by Time Inc., more than two-thirds of employees in the company’s corporate office took at least one day off during the 2016 campaign season in order to vote. In a “Safer Run” survey the company conducted on Election Day, 67 percent of respondents said they voted because it was important to have more diverse voices in government, rather than for political reasons. And in the Time Inc. office space, more than a third of employees answered affirmatively when asked about where they voted, and how, in a survey that also asked what they’d done on Election Day.
People pay attention to campaign-season politics, as you might imagine. But this time around, voters are out of work, and many are coming back home before any election has even taken place. In interviews, Time Inc. employees expressed their excitement, sometimes in nervous tones, about the opportunity to serve their community:
My friends and family always ask me if I vote, so I decided I’d like to find out, which led me to this survey. And finally, I can look people in the eye and say that I voted. I guess that’s what it’s all about, is using your voice to help others. You never really have the opportunity to use a voice and say “I’m a great American.” I’m grateful I have that chance.
In an increasingly age-averse and partisan work environment, it’s heartening to hear about workplaces where employees have the opportunity to engage in the political process.
These polls shouldn’t be an invitation to stay home, of course. In fact, Time Inc. employees were asked how busy they were, particularly as their holiday shifts loomed. More than half of those who had worked non-stop between Sept. 21 and Oct. 12 also took at least one day off to vote. The Time Inc. survey doesn’t break down that workday data for the two-thirds of employees who didn’t vote in the workplace survey, but you can look at Time Inc.’s candidate preference data to get an idea of the workplace—and definitely the office is a different story.
Democrat Representative Ted Lieu of California won a narrow victory in California’s 49th district in June, proving that party loyalty can live on even when the job doesn’t. However, this election will be about much more than one representative.
Voters have high expectations for any given office. And about 87 percent of employees said they were motivated to get out the vote because the office was planning to hold its own election day celebration.
These top-level officials might be getting into the act in the way most workers would expect, but the fact that time off is being taken off the table to vote suggests that more people in lower-level jobs are taking it too. In 2015, a survey found that about 16 percent of American workers who took time off to vote said they had to take time off from work to go to the polls. It’s not hard to imagine that the percentage has increased as work has taken a day off for so many elections.
In the end, it’s a nice feeling to know that your workplace cares about you enough to send out employees into the fields and to the polls. Whether you work for a health insurance provider or for a media company, knowing that your career is a benefit in some respects; and perhaps a motivator in others, it’s worth taking time for self-care — even if your company isn’t donating money to a voting advocacy group.