How to Solve Conflicts With a Remote Coworker

You’re definitely not alone if you’ve asked Santa Clause for getting along better with your remote co-worker. People have different characters, working effectively in the office and maintaining good relationships with co-workers takes some efforts. However, if you added distance to it you have to push twice harder to make it work.

‘Establish and maintain good working relationships with co-workers. You don’t have to be friends, but you do have to be friendly’.

Three years ago I had an experience in my life which brought me to the place where I had to work with my co-worker on a daily basis remotely, because he was sent to another city, to increase the sales of our company.  Firstly, it seemed to me that he was a good guy and I was pretty friendly. Even so, almost every out conversation ended with infuriation of each other. You know that Slack and emails can’t express your tone, actual intentions and that’s how the problems arise. You wanted to tell your remote co-worker that great ‘joke’, but your good determination was accepted as something offensive. Your actions can be taken other way that you expected them to.

I’ve found interesting tips published by Harvard Business Review about resolving sharp issues with your co-workers who work remotely, and how to increase the productivity of your cooperation. First of all, contact that person and find out whether you can chat with them or no. If you feel broken-down there is a good chance they feel the same way. Another thing may be very surprising for you, but they probably don’t even suspect that there are some problems in your relations, and if you start with a fight there is no way to establish good cooperation.

Instead of it, start with the lines like ‘I believe that working remotely is strenuous maybe we can chat for a few minutes about working more effectively if you don’t mind’

By doing so, you provide them with an opportunity to give open feedback to you. They will feel free to tell you what might bother them as well. It means that instead of quarrel with them you start a dialogue to create encouraging working atmosphere.

HBR also suggests to set up chat in-person or via video as an option. That’s a great opportunity to get to know your remote co-worker better, to see their facial expression and to lay a foundation of a friendly working process.

If you want to tell them what bothers you do it in a subtle way. For example, instead of saying ‘I suppose you were arrogant on that meeting’ you may say ‘You were a bit disrespectful to me when interrupted me while I was giving my presentation’.

Ask them about their perception of the particular situation. Surprisingly, they might have completely another view on what happened. And, it can totally change the way you feel.

After you’ve had a chat, prepare a plan to move forward. Great idea of HBR is to set up a specific time to check in with the remote co-worker. It can be twice a month or whatever to maintain the conversation.

However, there are people who don’t accept these efforts (I had a few where I was sure it wouldn’t work). But, I suppose that it can be the effective tips to start your 2018 in a good working environment. Let’s read about different ways to become successful graphic designer nowadays