Fights in the workplace are to be expected with people working alongside each other every week, but there are ways to spot potential problems and avoid confrontation. Perhaps the conflict is not even coming from employees, but from customers or creditors of the business. So how can you create a better, safer work environment at your place of employment or business?
A conflict in the workplace can be described as many things and is not confined to basic arguments. It could be a disagreement about work practices or even sexual harassment; whatever the cause, it will always involve at least two parties, possibly with grievances on both sides. While carrying out compliance training in your workplace can help, you really need to aware of your workers to create the best environment.
Personal or professional problems?
Conflicts in the workplace can stem from personal dislikes, but most arguments are because of underlying professional or personal problems. For example, an employee may be experiencing trouble in their relationship at home and then bring a negative attitude into work. Some people may be suffering fatigue from their work as well, and this can increase tensions in the work environment.
A company under pressure
In small and large companies alike, financial and other pressures can cause a more stressful work environment. This can often be related to:
- Cash flow – Without debt recovery solutions in place, directors can start to see invoices piling up, unpaid. If cash doesn’t flow, people lose their jobs.
- Bad management – Tensions and disagreements in the workplace are more common in businesses that are not managed to their true potential.
- Economic conditions – As soon as people start talking about ‘tough times’ ahead, consumers and businesses both lose confidence. This is when a lot of businesses can go under.
- Bad working conditions – Workers aren’t happy if their needs are not being met and this can raise tensions between workers and employers.
If the overall mood is bad, or conditions at work less than ideal, then you will start to see more disagreements flare. Fortunately, you can take steps to remedy a tense work environment.
Understanding outside stress inducers
Firstly, you need to understand outside stress inducers that can cause negative situations and altercations in your workplace. These can include:
- Problems at home or with family members
- Health problems
- Financial pressures
Recognising the root cause of a conflict can be achieved through meetings between individuals and groups. This is, of course, preferable to any litigation between employees, employees and management, or management and employees. In any case, there will always be steps before it comes to any court proceedings and mediation is usually the first step.
Act while the problem is small
If there are negative aspects to your working environment, do not wait until it gets out of hand before you seek solutions. The best workplaces are honest ones where everyone gets along; unfortunately, the reality is so very different. This goes double for anyone in a role of authority who should be instrumental in easing work tensions.