As we return to our offices and navigate the next phase of the pandemic, it is essential to be prepared for conflict, tension, and the effects of the pandemic spilling over into the workplace.
Even the most well-managed teams can face challenges when it comes to workplace conflict.
These issues can be around disagreements about COVID precautions, the organisational and job-role changes, and the massive change in daily routines that many workers have and will experience.
Leaders need to be aware and create preventive plans to meet these challenges as they come up.
The best conflict resolution plan is a proactive one. However, as a semblance of normalcy returns to your workplace, there are specific issues you’ll want to be aware of and recognize as they arise:
- Resolving conflict virtually
Although many core conflict resolution skills remain the same, how conflict is handled or mediation delivered may need to be adapted.
Managing conflict virtually may take more time. For example, delivered face-to-face, a mediation would usually take a day, whereas an online mediation will need to be split into shorter sessions over various days because it is difficult for parties to sit in front of a screen for a whole day.
- Addressing conflict early
With so many of us working from home, it can be easier for conflict to go unaddressed in the current circumstances. However, if the conflict is left unresolved, it can fester and grow, negatively impacting the health and well-being of those involved.
With a remote-working team, it can be tempting to avoid tackling difficult situations and wait to address them face-to-face. On the other hand, with social distancing and protective measures in a physical environment, it may also be tempting to put things off because we may not want to add to the pressures people are under. Either way, it’s crucial to encourage managers and colleagues to address conflict before it gets out of hand.
- Fostering a deeper connection
Although there are challenges in managing conflict in the current situation, there are also opportunities!
Many people enjoy remote working and finding the home environment more productive. We can also get to know our colleagues more deeply, seeing children or pets join a video meeting or sharing our personal challenges of the pandemic. Building stronger relationships with co-workers help reduce unnecessary conflict and enable us to deal with it more calmly when it arises.
Online training can quickly and cost-effectively reach people in any location. For example, interactive group training is beneficial when learning conflict management and mediation skills. This can be achieved online with creative, well-structured content and virtual breakout sessions. There’s also the added benefit of learning alongside colleagues from different locations who may not otherwise be able to meet.
As you know, WeTrain is Australia’s leading national training service, with the largest base of specialist trainers in every city. We have been in business for over 25 years and have helped thousands of Australian professionals to gain the skills they need to perform better at work.
WeTrain’s Conflict Resolution: Getting Along In The Workplace course will provide delegates, both team leaders and members, the tools they need to resolve conflict in a way that produces a win for all involved, and which benefits the business in the long term.
Our style of delivery is interactive, engaging, and fun. We encourage participants to make the training dynamic and enjoyable for all attendees – be it virtual or live in-house.
Just as some workplace conflict is inevitable, even in the best of times, so is the shared goal of conflict resolution.
After all, no one was spared from challenges during the pandemic, and it seems safe to assume everyone wants a return to a smoothly operating workplace as quickly as possible.
The more efficiently you resolve conflicts between your employees, the happier and more productive they are likely to be.