Have you ever had a close family member die? Sometimes, the pain of the loss is so great that it’s hard to even say to another person, “My grandfather died.” It makes it real. And, it makes it more painful. When it comes to current news events, this week was one of those. It’s hard to say much because we’re all still processing this new information, and our new world.
Typically, it can be good for a workplace to remain neutral on matters that relate to politics or religion. After all, employees and customers are made up of all different sorts of people, with different views. Remaining neutral respects the individual perspectives of everyone. It is a reminder that we live in a nation with free choice, and that our personal choices are our own.
In addition to the surprise of the court ruling, it is also surprising to see so many large companies speak out. Amazon, Apple, and Dick’s Sporting Goods have all committed to paying for their employees to travel to places where abortions are legal. Google will even permanently relocate employees to new cities without a work justification. Many other companies are offering similar commitments to their employees, including Airbnb, Bumble, Citigroup, Disney, Levi Strauss, Microsoft, and Netflix.
Initially, the wave of company responses was surprising. This seems like another politically charged issue that a company might keep quiet about. But, there’s another way to look at it. It comes down to offering all employees the same benefits.
Let’s think of this from another angle that’s less painful. In some countries, a certain minimum number of days of vacation is customary. In the United States, this is typically two weeks of vacation. In some countries in Europe, employees receive eight weeks. It would seem strange if a company offered completely different amounts of vacation to employees who did the same job. But, we’re not talking about vacation. What we’re talking about is more serious.
In this case, we’re talking about healthcare. And, healthcare is very often tied to the employer. Thinking of it through this lens, it does make sense for a company to make a decision about the type of healthcare they want to provide their employees. It makes sense that a company like Citigroup would want every employee to have the same healthcare benefits.
The past two years, it has been sad to watch our nation become more divided. With an increase in remote work, there is the possibility of moving more freely. And, the moves might bring people with diverse views together. It might help us to find a more common ground. Unfortunately, decisions like this one will continue to stoke the fire that is keeping us apart.
The one way through is together. Whether personally or professionally, try to keep the lines of communication open with those who see things differently than you do. A larger divide is not the answer.