How to deal with conflict while remote working?

How to deal with conflict

Conflict exists wherever there are people. You might picture the most passive-aggressive or plain-aggressive scenarios that can develop between team members when you hear the word workplace conflict. 

It may conjure images of angry employees yelling at one another or chatting about a certain employee. While instances like that happen frequently, it’s crucial to remember that “conflict” can sneak up on you as a leader and fester in ways you might not even realize. 

Personal disputes may arise and disappear, adversely damaging your workplace culture without your knowledge. Conflict in a remote or mixed workplace gets much trickier. 

Employees are no longer required to find a secluded space to hold heated arguments with one another. Instead, these interactions can be spread across numerous platforms with the help of slack, email, and zoom, which can increase disputes brought on by misunderstandings.

What is a remote work conflict?

Remote communication is necessary for remote work and is frequently the source of disputes. In addition, you are more likely to misinterpret emails or hurriedly written communications when you use email and messaging services more frequently.

Work obligations, individual traits, personality conflicts, or management methods can all lead to conflict. Besides video conferences, it can be challenging to read body language when participants are not in person.

What leads to conflict in remote work?

Conflict starts for the same reasons that arguments erupt in a regular office setting when people work remotely. 

Personality conflicts, stress, excessive work, and values differences may be some. Meanwhile, a few causes and aggravating elements are particularly specific to distant settings.

  • Lack of knowledge: 

Despite cooperation tools for remote workers, the setting can nevertheless be alienating. It is because you don’t have quick and easy access to your supervisor or co-workers. You are not permitted to enter their office and ask a brief query (and vice-versa). 

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Additionally, once everyone is on-site, developments in the dynamic corporate climate of today may only become known to remote workers. 

  • Impersonal communication:

A lack of personalization in long-distance communication even though most commercial communication channels are becoming less formal. Since email and texting are impersonal by nature, they completely obliterate 93% of the signals used in face-to-face conversation. 

The anonymity it offers can occasionally encourage harsher or more hostile dialogue. Conflicts can subsequently develop swiftly as a result of this.

  • Uncertainty: 

Remote employees typically deal with greater levels of uncertainty. Among the causes of uncertainty are:

  • Fear of your co-workers discussing you behind your back
  • The impression that unannounced changes are having an impact on your work
  • Promoting important causes
  • Anxiety can be bred by insecurity, which develops from uncertainty. As a result, when uncertainty and anxiety are at their highest, conflict may develop.
  • Taking offense: 

If a person doesn’t feel personally wronged, their level of annoyance or anger against their co-worker’s actions is usually too low to spark a fight. It is especially valid if they are not seated directly across from you.

How to deal with conflict while remote working?

You cannot completely rule out the chance of a distant work conflict; it is important to note. 

However, each organization member contributed in some way to reducing these disagreements. By putting these suggestions into practice, you can lessen the frequency and severity of disagreements.

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  • Remain reachable to everyone:

Conflict-free communication is essential for remote work. Be sure to keep in touch with all your employees as an employer. 

Make sure that anyone can reach out to you with ease and that you can do the same for them. For everyone, you must uphold the same accessibility standards.

  • Productivity tracking: 

You should use apps or other methods to track staff productivity. When you are fully informed about each employee, you may steer clear of misunderstandings about their responsibilities and performance. 

Additionally, provide the staff with access to the facts about productivity via online whiteboards.

  • Clarify your expectations:

Uncertain environments are ideal for conflict. You must establish clear expectations and keep track of all important actions, steps, and results by those expectations.

  • Set a good example: 

Everyone will look to you for behavior abilities as an employer. As a result, your actions and manner of speaking will immediately impact your staff. Therefore, setting the best example in terms of attitude and communication is important.

  • Ask questions: 

As an employee, you must not be afraid to do so anytime you require clarification to avoid conflicts. By asking your boss or the employer for clarification, you reduce the likelihood of future workplace conflicts.

When your internet connection permits, clarify a particular point or request an explanation before the conversation continues.

  • Be polite and honest:

Remote work entails having impersonal conversations. Therefore, you must always be kind and well-mannered. To avoid confrontation, keep communication open-minded. Keep others suspecting you are lying.

  • Take the same position:

Never assume the other side already understands or agrees with your perspective while talking in a distant setting. Ask for confirmation instead to eliminate any uncertainty or misunderstanding.

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  • Get ahead of the problem: 

Most disputes in remote work occur when previously ignored problems are at their breaking point. Don’t hold off on finding a solution until the other side does. Either you can take the initiative to resolve it, or you may accept the issue as it is.

  • Apply the same rules to all: 

It would help if you established certain ground rules to guarantee that everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed. 

Make sure you follow the same guidelines no matter the setting or the circumstance. For that, make sure the policies and procedures are available to everyone and are stated in plain English.

  • Regular team meetings: 

If at all feasible, set up an in-person kick-off meeting as soon as your team is formed. Team members may interact in person rather than through a computer screen. In addition, meet the team frequently via video conferences or online meetings to foster a team spirit.


Conflict resolution is typically not a pleasant process for managers. However, accepting that conflict is unavoidable and may be beneficial for your business can go a long way toward managing it and your team constructively and proactively.

Your team’s conflicts may have changed as a result of the epidemic. You may be a remote manager for a very long time, given the unpredictable nature of the workplace.

The DECISION 168 team is on a mission to Empower Small Businesses, Entrepreneurs, and Individuals. Through the relationships and experience of our network, we will make a difference together. Scale your business with Decision 168.


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