Preventing conflict for remote workers

The next installment in a series of blogs exploring the challenges and joys of working remotely. Why start from scratch, when others can pave the way for you? 

Conflict Management

1.    the ability to be able to identify and handle conflicts sensibly, fairly, and efficiently; enhancing learning and group outcomes.

If you’ve got human employees, chances are, you’re going to have some form of conflict at some point. While this may have you googling ‘robots who work good’, conflict doesn’t have to be entirely negative – and when managed well, the opportunity for learning is tenfold. Now, just because your staff are remote, doesn’t mean that you’re not going to have to manage some conflicts. This might be an individual – a worker who is feeling isolated, burnt out or isn’t communicating well, or between parties or groups – for example, two colleagues whose natural taste for the other is bordering on that of Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton.

When working from afar, things can get lonely. There are no work wives to massage shoulders and celebrate a milestone or project win with an after work wine, no colleagues to yarn over the watercooler and no cake in the staff room for Friday arvo sugar fixes (as a remote worker, having your own cake in your own staff room AKA your kitchen is a very dangerous maneuver…).

As a remote manager, it’s incredibly important that you manage conflict within your team swiftly. However, there are some things that can help to set you up for success to prevent the preventable. Unless your employee is a bit of a ning nong. Then you’re going to get waves, no matter what. Might as well put on your rubber floaties and jump on in.

  • Set clear expectations with detailed onboarding sessions. This helps your staff to have a framework to work within and an understanding of how they’re expected to work. An expectation of timely communication on emails, slack and phone calls during working hours means less irritability at receiving delayed responses.  
  • Avoid isolation. There’s a fine line between autonomy and abandonment. You could set up a mentor system within your staff, or bring everyone together for regular retreats, workshops and conferences. Celebrate birthdays and take the time to shoot the breeze during meetings. Remember, we’re all human – even if you’re talking through a screen. 
  • Diverse, accessible communication is paramount to avoid miscommunication and wasted staff time. Design multiple channels for team members to get access to the knowledge or resources that they need to perform their work.

Pick up top tips about conflict management and more juicy, remote working information with our fabulous Remote Work e-course for business owners. This e-course delves into how to get the most out of working from afar and sets you up for success from your home office.

Work your way!

Jo Palmer, founder of Pointer Remote Roles

If you’re interested in enrolling in an e-course click here and we can get the ball rolling!

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