Remote working #1 – quick tips to reduce conflict in your workplace

2020 forced a “sea change” for UK workers, being suddenly required to work from home. The pros and cons of home working have now been established.  Most organisations and individuals have settled into their home working routines. But what about how to reduce conflict in your workplace.

Our blog series will highlight key approaches to identifying friction points, to prevent or reduce conflict in your workplace, wherever that might be.

Many workers are enjoying benefits offered by home-working but there are still plenty who are finding challenges along the way. These challenges often lead to conflict. If you are affected, asking yourself some key questions, to identify the source of your struggle, can lead to significant improvements.

Identify the source

Does the challenge arise from:

A. my own workspace (eg sharing wifi, child care impact)? OR
B. from my organisation or remote colleagues (eg. difficulty accessing a manager, feeling out of depth with new software)?

This blog looks at “A. My own workspace” to see how you can achieve improvement.

“B. Challenges from my organisation or colleagues” features in our next blog, Remote working #2.

My own Workspace

Few people prioritised a “home working environment” when moving into their home (although this is now changing!). It is widely recognised that home working individuals face common challenges that directly impact their productivity and well-being, as outlined here:

2019 State of Remote Work Report

Solution Focus Points

Through 2020, the order/percentage of some of the factors may have changed but the common issues remain. These factors lead to unrealistic expectations, both of yourself and others, which frequently causes conflict. Unmasking the underlying struggle is key to improvement. Once you have identified the concerns, ask yourself the following:

Q1. Can I resolve this myself?

Consider the steps, needed including any product research, cost, timescale to implement. (eg. portable wifi link, ergonomic seating.)

Q2. Do I need support from someone else to resolve this?

You may need to plan a conversation with someone in or near your home, a work colleague and/or a manager. (eg. additional training on new software, sharing home-schooling and work responsibilities with a partner, impact of external noise from nearby.)

See tips to plan that conversation later in this blog series.

Q3. If the difficulty can’t be fixed directly, can I reduce the impact?

This is where you can be creative. You may need to alter your hours or arrange a different approach or task-share with colleagues. (eg. if background noise is a problem at home, could you agree with a colleague that you prepare and they present projects, with appropriate credit given, of course.)

Channel your creativity

One thing that still amazes me in some conflict resolution sessions is how our clients “think outside the box”. With the help of some targeted questioning from us, they develop innovative, (sometimes totally unexpected) solutions to issues that previously seemed like a dead end.

You can try using the “My Work Space” question sequence above to generate new ideas.

Alternatively, it can be more effective to “bounce” ideas with a friend or colleague.  This prevents your thinking process from staying on familiar tracks. Otherwise, you may prefer an independent option such as a 1:1 session with us at Concord. We can help you end up with a plan that is both realistic and effective to reduce conflict in your workplace.

Once you have successfully worked through the “My Work Space” question sequence to improve your own working environment, you are likely to feel more confident and ready to tackle the next challenge.

Blog#2 in the series “Remote working: quick tips to prevent or reduce conflict in your workplace” will look at challenges arising from your organisation or colleagues.

Small dog engaged with a computer screenreduce conflict with colleagues by informal chat