Whilst many people’s working lives have been turned upside down by the Covid-19 pandemic, they can still access the benefits of mediation. We have been providing effective workplace mediation online or, where the rules have allowed, using a mix of in-person and online mediation.
In our book, it is certainly preferable for clients and mediators to be in the same room. They are able to ‘feel’ and respond to changes in the atmosphere. But equally, we’re in no doubt that it’s much better to have a well managed online mediation than not to have it.
From the start, we’ve been pleasantly surprised at how much virtual mediation meetings can achieve.
Effective workplace mediation online
There has been ample opportunity for people to hone their communication skills for the online world, so perhaps we’ve all got better at that. As mediators who always work as a pair, we’ve also learned a thing or two about applying our co-mediation skills to minimise the ‘remote’ of remote working. And we’ve been taking advantage of the flexibility of mediation to make it comfortable and effective for our online clients.
But it’s also a case of ‘what’s the alternative?’. In our experience, people have been willing to try online mediation in the hope that they can improve a miserable situation. Being embroiled in conflict with a work colleague or colleagues is stressful at the best of times. Overlaid by the Covid-19 context when people are more isolated, it’s ten times worse.
Through mediation, online or in-person, those in conflict can get a better understanding of problems. They can then go on to work out ways of dealing with them.
Whether the problems stem from different working styles, unwanted behaviour or a clash of priorities, mediation can help. It offers a constructive alternative to the grievance or disciplinary process. It can also help people to mend relationships in their aftermath.
An alternative to misery
Compared with those formal processes, mediation can be arranged quickly and is usually concluded within a few hours. This means swift relief from the stress and distraction of the conflict for all those involved. Colleagues, line managers and HR advisers. Such all-round benefits – for staff well being, productivity and cost – account for the growing use of workplace mediation in recent years.
During the Covid crisis, our clients have been particularly relieved to have had the chance to address the problem. Few people come into mediation without some level of worry or scepticism. By the end of the process, however, it is so often the case that their only regret is that it didn’t happen sooner.
We can support you to find fast, affordable and lasting solutions to conflict in the workplace. For a no-obligation chat, please contact us.