What is a remote labor dispute? 12 ways to prevent it

If you think that conflicts only happen face to face, you are wrong. Conflicts can arise even when the entire team is working from home. In fact, remote work dispute has become a common occurrence in the new normal. By having in-depth knowledge of this type of workplace conflict and prevention, you can definitely avoid remote work conflict.

What is a remote labor dispute?

stress while telecommuting

Short altercations regularly occur in the office when people interact in the dining room or in the elevator. A face-to-face discussion usually resolves most conflicts. Communication style and body language are of great importance when resolving conflicts.

When you communicate remotely through digital devices without a personal touch, that opportunity is lost. As a result, remote work disputes are caused by communication problems and misunderstandings.

Remote working requires virtual communication, and this is usually the cause of conflict. As you rely more on messaging and messaging platforms, it becomes easier to misunderstand emails or hastily composed messages.

There may also be conflicts arising from work responsibilities, individual behaviors, personality conflicts or administrative styles. Not to mention videoconferencing, where it is difficult to interpret body language when people are not present face to face.

The more visual clues you miss, the more likely you are to go wrong. In addition to relying on technology, remote working eliminates informal communication.

It is important to prevent conflicts in remote work

Remote labor disputes can have a negative impact on employee productivity, organizational performance, and the overall work environment. The following can occur as a result of a dispute in work-from-home situations:

  • At the initial level, the productivity of the teleworker will suffer.

  • Stress from conflict also lowers motivation levels.

  • When you are not dealing with conflict, employees may not be present at work to personally avoid conflict.

  • If the lack of conflict management persists, employees may decide to resign from their positions.

  • Extreme cases can force participants to find an external solution. In addition to seeking union protection, employees can seek help from law enforcement agencies.

Related: Ways to Improve Your Team’s Productivity

How to prevent remote work disputes

It should be noted that you cannot completely eliminate the possibility of a remote labor dispute. However, each member of the organization has had a role to play in reducing these conflicts. You can reduce the number and severity of conflicts by applying the following tips.

1. Stay accessible to everyone

Fluid communication is the key to avoiding conflicts in remote work. As an employer, communicate regularly with all employees. Make sure everyone can reach you easily while you contact them with the same ease. You must maintain the same accessibility rules for everyone.

2. Keep track of productivity

stacked bar chart of data

You personally need to track employee productivity using apps or tools. When you have all the information you need about each employee, you can avoid any misunderstanding about responsibilities and job performance. Also make productivity information available to employees through online whiteboards.

3. Set clear expectations

Conflict thrives in an environment of uncertainty. You need to set clear expectations and monitor all critical processes, procedures and outcomes against expectations.

4. Define positive examples

As an employer, everyone will look to you for your behavior and communication skills. Therefore, your behavior and your communication style will have a direct effect on your employees. You have to set the best example in terms of conversation and attitude.

An employee communicating remotely

5. Ask questions

To avoid conflict as an employee, you should not hesitate to ask questions whenever you need clarification. When you ask your supervisor or employer for answers, you minimize the possibility of a labor dispute in the future.

Clarify a specific point or ask for an explanation before the discussion continues, while your Internet connection allows it.

6. Be courteous and frank

Remote work means having an impersonal nature of communications. At such times, you have to be polite and well behaved. Stay open as you communicate with others to avoid conflict. Don’t let other parties think you are cheating on them.

Related: The Best Zoom Virtual Backgrounds For Any Meeting

7. Be on the same page

When communicating in a remote environment, never assume that the other party already knows or accepts your point of view. Instead, ask for confirmation to avoid any doubt or misunderstanding.

8. Go ahead with the problem

Most remote work disputes occur when long-overlooked issues reach breaking point. Don’t wait for the other party to come forward and solve the problem. Either you can take the first step to fixing it or you can make peace with the problem.

A team leader driving the connect team

9. Apply the same rules for everyone

You need to establish ground rules to ensure a level playing field for all members. No matter where and what the situation, make sure you apply the same rules to everyone. To do this, have the policies and procedures written in plain language and make them available to everyone.

10. Regular group meetings

Once you’ve formed a team, arrange for an introductory in-person meeting, if possible. There, team members can meet face to face outside of the digital screen. Apart from that, meet the team regularly via video conferences or virtual meetings to promote a collective mindset.

11. Provide a shared workspace

employee working on multiple monitors

You can always establish a common workspace for team members to ensure real-time and informal communication. You can use free or paid team collaboration and brainstorming tools like Bluescape, Miro, Mural, etc. When managing project-oriented teams, use online project tracking software to ensure transparency.

12. Celebrate success together

Celebrating occasions such as success and achieving milestones will provide opportunities for team members to mingle. There may be rewards for their performance. Such team activities promote mutual appreciation and boost morale.

Effortlessly prevent and resolve work disputes remotely

No matter how uncomfortable and disruptive remote work conflicts are, sometimes they are inevitable. You can avoid remote work disputes within any organization, from a small business to a large corporation, by following the tips in this article.

Using digital platforms, there is a need for employers, team leaders and employees to communicate more frequently about creativity and productivity.


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