How to Manage Workplace Conflict When Your Team is Remote
MARCH 29,2021 | MANAGEMENT | READING TIME: 3 MINUTES | By SARA KELLY
Workplace conflict is resolved relatively quickly with face-to-face conversation when working from an office. But now that teams are mostly remote, communicating primarily through slack messages and email, learning how to manage workplace conflict has become more challenging.
Employees struggle to stay productive as the pandemic drags on and find it difficult to separate work and life when both environments have merged. In this post, we'll explain why managing workplace conflict when your team is remote is essential, how to manage workplace conflict, and signs your team may be experiencing conflict but haven't expressed it yet.
Conflict can come from the same problems that you might experience when you're in a workplace. Below are a few reasons why your team might be experiencing conflict.
When sending messages online, your communication misses an essential element: non-verbal cues. For example, facial expressions and hand gestures can change how the receiver interprets a message. And while video calls are live and face-to-face, it still doesn't quite cut it like an in-person meeting.
With everything communicated digitally, emails and calls can get missed. Messages can get lost in translation. One too many pulled into an email can make things confusing. And just generally, the process can slow down, making it frustrating for people to get tasks done. Not to mention, with everyone working from, it's hard to know how productive everyone truly is.
Lack of direction
When teams work in a virtual environment, it's hard to pull people into conversations at the drop of a hat. Thus, many emails and messages can confuse who is assigned the task and what needs to get done. As a result, employees can become hostile without direction or feel like someone else is taking over their responsibilities.
Here is a step-by-step guide to help you manage conflict between employees when working remotely.
Giving your team a time and place to give feedback regularly will promote conflict management between team members.
If conflict is starting because of a lack of communication or a cog in the wheel, it's best to evaluate the current processes and look at how what can improve now that your team is entirely remote.
As a manager who's also merged work and life, it's essential to review your team's current landscape on your own. By stepping back and studying, you can see anything that seems off or out of place.
If there's a conflict between two employees, it's best to identify the best way to handle the solution based on the situation. For example, bringing everyone in on a video call may be uncomfortable, so it might be better to chat with an employee independently and then allow the two employees to speak.
What could be frustrating employees and causing workplace conflict is a lack of direction. Make sure to clearly outline an employee's task and what outcome they should deliver.
Workplace conflict, whether in-person or online, is something we would all like to avoid. But if it crops up, it's always best to handle it head-on so it doesn't develop into something that affects the overall company culture or other team members. When in doubt:
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