Conflict resolution & COVID

There will always be a need for conflict management in the workplace. Where there are people, there will be conflict. Even if it’s the subtle comments with the intense bubbling-under of emotions. Or the in your face kind of conflict that is undeniably uncomfortable for everyone in the room. Conflict is a human occurrence that we all need to be able to deal with.

What we have in the workplace, at the moment, is a big bowl of normal conflict scenarios with a lot of added spice called COVID challenges. Let’s be honest, COVID has brought with it a long list of new struggles that we did not have to deal with in the past. These issues has to be dealt with in the appropriate way.

At the office?

Whether you work from home or have a hybrid system, this for sure is a recipe for a difference in opinion. A source of conflict may be the various work hours and work spaces. Who works from home, are there some who may work from home more than others? Is there trust within the organisation when working from home?

To vax or not to vax

Are you required to get the jab at your workplace or not? It may be an unsaid rule but true to the human condition, we will get differences in opinion and action. Some employees might be unvaccinated by choice and this might be a source of conflict. Just as vaccinated employees may be a source of conflict to those who do not agree with it. At the moment this is the biggest source of division among people. The workplace is no different.

“I don’t feel safe.”

Linked to this is also the notion that the workplace might not be safe enough to be in. The workplace might just be the perfect place for the spread of the virus if protocol is not followed. This is also a source of conflict as these brings out differences in opinion. Of course there are regulations nonetheless people have the right to say when they feel unsafe. This might bring about conflict if there are those that come to the office anyway. Can the ones that feel unsafe work from home? Is the labour divided sufficiently or is this a huge source of conflict.

These are all factors that may contribute to conflict in the workplace. Remember that the workplace now looks drastically different from what it did before the pandemic. We sure are thriving in this new dispensation of business yet, as with all change, it comes at a price. The little foxes of conflict may find its way in the workplace but the same principles apply to them.

One of these principles uses the following anagram to guide you through a conflict situation.



• Identify the ways in which Assumptions play a role.
• Discuss how our Perceptions influence the conflict situation.
• Communicate how Expectations affect the conflict situation.

Try to implement these 3 valuable points and the situation might just become a learning opportunity for both parties to gain insight into each other’s realities instead of a conflict situation where nobody gains anything.

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