Telecommuting has practically become the norm in the post-COVID world, but while this has arguably made things easier for employers and employees alike, it hasn’t completely eliminated workplace conflict. Granted, it has arguably cut down on it since many workers aren’t sharing the same space anymore, but there will always be the possibility of conflict whenever people need to work together, even if they don’t technically see each other. To make matters worse, telecommuting may make it less likely that management will be able to notice any conflict among their employees.
Whether you still manage employees on-site at your job or you communicate with them remotely, you will have to contend with workplace conflict. Here is what you can do when it happens with your remote employees.
When you have to manage remote employees, you also need to reach out to them regularly. This not only allows you to address any questions or concerns that they may have, but it gives them the chance to inform you of any conflicts they have with their coworkers. You don’t need to check in with your employees constantly, but a weekly email or phone call will suffice.
If you think there is any conflict among your employees that is affecting their job performance, contact them privately to find out if there is indeed a problem. Don’t be accusatory with your tone though; at this point, you’re simply reaching out and trying to smooth over any issues that might be present. Most of these cases come down to poor communication or a misunderstanding, things that are exacerbated by the communication barriers that telecommuting sometimes creates. Patiently speak to all parties involved in the conflict, and work with them to come to a resolution that benefits everyone.
Set Ground Rules
The best way to avoid workplace conflict within a team is to stop it before it can happen, and the best way to do that is to set some clear ground rules with your team. Your team is likely all in different locations, but they all have important tasks to complete. A set of rules that applies to everyone will ensure that they will all be treated equally, which will keep you all on the same page whether you share office space or not.