We’ve all been working from home, so you would think that the level of workplace spats and dummy spits by employees would be less right?
Workplace conflict is always going to exist. So what is the best way to manage conflicts in the workplace with remote employees? How do you calm everybody down and set things straight, when getting everyone in the same room for a face to face meeting just isn’t possible?
1. Set clear objectives & outcomes
A common reason for workplace conflict is when employees are not clear on what is expected of them or in what time frame. Clear communication with employees working from home is crucial to minimise conflict. When issues arise try to all do a face to face video call to get everyone on the same page and set clear objectives, responsibilities and deliverables. Try and avoid separate calls where information can be misinterpreted from conversation to conversation.
2. Check in with staff regularly
Everyone has stuff going on in their lives. In the office it was a lot easier to judge just by body language and a quick chat with your team if someone was having a rough time or had stuff going on in their lives outside of work which might affect their performance or put them in a less than agreeable mood.
Don’t forget to just check in with your team on a regular basis even if it’s not a work-related call just to ask how they are doing and what’s new in their world. If conflict arises, perhaps it's even more important to do this. As it is possible that it’s something else causing the issue and the work conflict is just a spin off from and underlying issue.
Checking in in allows you to nip it in the bud before conflict arises.
3. Listen to your employees
It’s pretty fundamental but instead of trying to “manage” employees conflicts. Perhaps it’s enough to just sit back and listen to all sides. Encourage employees to be open and proactive in resolving their own disputes. As the manager be there to just guide them on the right path. We are all adults after all!
Fundamentally, if everyone is shown respect at work and there are clear lines of communication then the level of any potential conflict will be minimised. Let’s all be adults and enjoy working from home and the benefits it brings rather than getting caught up in the petty politics.
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