There are few issues that are more dominant than the Covid pandemic, which has changed our society in ways no one anticipated less than two years ago. Despite the broader, more recognizable impacts that all of us have seen, the pandemic has also forced some uncomfortable situations that may not have existed before 2020. Consider vaccinations, which have proven effective in either preventing serious illness or hospitalization, or infection altogether. Though this may be true, not everyone shares the belief that vaccinations should be mandatory, but rather a personal choice. So what happens in a work environment where two partners share this difference of opinion? Dave Markarian, Partner, The Markarian Group, says it is a reasonable question to consider as the issue grows in relevance. This can be approached in several ways:
- Approach Interactions With An Open Mind: We have to acknowledge that there are going to be differences of opinion, even in what seems obvious. Attempt to remain open-minded and understand your partners’ or coworkers’ points of view and listen generously. Trying to convince them they are “wrong” and you are “right” will be unproductive and can foster an even more emotional reaction, making working together more difficult.
- Be Respectful: It’s acceptable to disagree. Respect the reasons for other’s decisions that differ from the choices you’ve made, and speak about them rationally, with a spirit of understanding.
- Figure It Out: This might seem like a challenge, but there’s always room for negotiation. Once you can work through differences respectfully, you can set boundaries on what kind of workplace environment is best. A little cooperation all the way around can yield a result that allows everyone to feel safe while allowing for a sense of self-direction. Understanding the basics will go a long way.
- It May Not Be Forever: The final point to realize is that this might be temporary. It’s difficult to imagine, but the science and treatments are changing every day. Make it clear as you work through these conversations that it isn’t personal – this is just a way to get through the current circumstances.
The key to keep in mind; avoid trying to convince your fellow worker that they’re wrong, and instead focus on sensible give-and-take solutions. It will make working together a lot easier. Stay calm and committed to establishing the best practices for everyone involved – including yourself!