Workplace mediation: online but not remote

Whilst many people’s working lives have been turned upside down by the Covid-19 pandemic, the benefits of mediation remain there for the taking. We have been providing effective workplace mediation online or, where the rules have allowed, using a mix of in-person and online mediation, for months.

In our book, it is certainly preferable for clients and mediators to be in the same room, able to ‘feel’ and respond to changes in 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 can be achieved in virtual mediation meetings.

Effective workplace mediation online

There has been ample opportunity over these past months 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 as comfortable and effective as possible for our online clients.

But it’s also a case of what’s the alternative. In our experience people have been willing to give online mediation a try 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 and 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 also offers an alternative to the grievance or disciplinary process, and can help people to mend relationships in their aftermath.

An alternative to misery

Compared with those formal processes, a 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 (…colleagues, line managers, HR advisers) involved. Such all-round benefits – for staff well being, productivity and cost – account for the growing use of workplace mediation in recent years.

More than ever, during the Covid crisis clients have been relieved to have the chance to address the problem supported by a neutral third party. 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 much sooner.

For a no obligation chat about how we can support you to find fast, affordable and lasting solutions to conflict in the workplace please contact us.  

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