Managing the challenge of family conflict when working from home.

Us Brits are a nation mired and wired in good manners. So this whole lockdown easing business is causing quite a conundrum for balancing our relationships with our anxious minds.

Having been desperate to see friends and family again after so long, some people are now finding that the new rules come with new questions and boundaries that we need assurance on before jumping into social and work settings again.

Differences of opinion within households need to be established and reasoned before decisions can be made, after all, the behaviours and interactions of one member of the house affect all members of the house.

So, with children returning to school, workplaces reopening and Ikea apparently doing a roaring trade - there is clearly an appetite for ‘back to business’ from some. But a quick scan on any social media or news platform will also show you that there is a fierce rejection of this from others.

As an example; if you are working from home, your partner is having to work from home and you have children who ‘could’ return to school - this could create a real flashpoint for conflict if you have differing views on whether they should go back.

Conflict often escalates because we don’t take the time to really listen to a person and understand their perspective.

We’re also under a different kind of pressure as we ease out of lockdown, and therefore the speed at which conflict can escalate is increased.

How do you manage these competing opinions in close quarters without creating a cold war?

  • Lay out the conflicting issue.
  • Take your time to listen patiently to the perspective of every individual.
  • Summarise their points to show understanding.
  • Offer your position and opinion.
  • Don’t expect to end the discussion with a resolution, sometimes we all need to sleep on it.

If you’re working from home, a harmonious house is going to really help your state of mind and quality of work. And if you’re going out to work on the frontline, the same rules apply with difficult colleagues. Get clear on what you need without starting a war. 

We have two helpful You Are Not A Frog episodes about conflict to share with you this week as well as our article on Managing Conflict from our Lead. Manage. Thrive! Course. 

‘What is unspoken is hardest to change.’ This is sage advice from Jane Gunn, Conflict resolution expert and the guest on Episode 37 of the You Are Not A Frog podcast (have transferred these to you via WeTransfer) hosted by Dr Rachel Morris our Director of Leadership courses and Red Whale LMT presenter. Rachel also explores how to deal with stress in others (and hopefully avoid conflict) in Episode 34 you can watch it here and listen to it here.


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