17th July 2024

Working from home remotely – 5 tips to resolve conflict

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With many of us working from home it can lead to conflict. This could be with whoever we are living with or even over a video call. The conflict could be with a colleague who you may not have been getting on before and it is worse now that you are working remotely. The best plan is to resolve what the issue is. This can be by listening to the other person’s point of view and then aiming to reach an agreement of moving forward positively.  Here are 5 tips to resolve conflict.

Ground Rules

As a manager it is best to resolve conflict. Handle any conflict openly and directly and this could be by email initially. State what you expect the two team members to do and this could be by working out together what they would like to happen. They could each email or speak to you what the outcome they would prefer. If this does not work out then arrange a video call between the three of you.

First set ground rules that one person will state their case, and then the other one can. One person to speak at a time and no one to interrupt.  Ensure notes are taken or the call recorded and state this at the start of the discussion.

Effective communication

Effective communication between two people involves understanding how each other feels. Then by negotiating with some give and take by both parties. They understand what the ground rules are and the best outcome is for them to be able to work out all the issues they have so that they can work together remotely. They could be working remotely for months to come if this works for the company they work for. 

Gather information

Find out what the facts are and what is actually happening between the two team members. Find out what they are looking for and want and state exactly what you are expecting as an outcome. It is essential you say that you are wanting them to agree a way forward to enable both of them to work remotely and successfully. Otherwise it could have an impact on you, the rest of the team and the overall health and wellbeing of the whole team. 

Agree there is a problem

Conflict is having an impact on the rest of the team as well as on you. It is difficult enough working in the office but working remotely has many challenges.  Sometimes people may see different but interlocking problems , if they can’t reach a common view of the problem, then at the very least, they need to understand what the other person sees as the problem.

Consider possible solutions

Each person has the power to say how they feel, and be mindful of what you are looking for from them. Let them come up with possible solutions. You will then need to either meet in the middle or give a little and then they may give in a little to reach a happy and useful solution.

To calm these situations down, it helps to take a positive approach to conflict resolution, where discussion is courteous and non-confrontational, and the focus is on issues rather than on individuals. If this happens and as long as people listen carefully and explore the facts, issues and solutions properly, conflict can often be resolved effectively.

There are three principles to consider here: Be Calm, Be Patient, Have Respect…

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