Living in close-knit communities is not always easy as no two people are exactly the same: some are quick-witted and full of jokes, while others prefer peace and quiet; some are easygoing while others are short tempered. Since social situations where all kinds of different kinds of people mingle are a fact of life, people have to learn to get along but this doesn’t always work. One typical area of conflict is the modern workplace where people spend large portions of their time together with a random group of people. There are various reasons for conflict in the workplace ranging from the office set-up to compatibility.
Most modern offices are not conducive to “getting along” in any sense of the word. Most offices in the private sector are either open plan with everyone working shoulder to shoulder or there is extensive desk hopping. Some people can switch off from their surroundings, ignore the pastrami sandwich on a colleague’s desk and focus on work, others are bothered by smells, noise and continued interruptions; tempers become frayed and people end up snapping at each other over very mundane things. The profit motive is front and center in the private sector and one way to cut costs is to reduce office size and encourage people to share desks. Although this seems logical on paper, in practice, the situation is very different: the staff can never personalize their work environment and feel they don’t belong. Alienation of this kind is certainly not conducive to good will towards others. In short, modern offices often aggravate conflict in the workplace by ignoring the human factor when planning offices.
The role of managers is of vital importance when trying to create a pleasant working environment where work gets done to a certain standard. Firstly, the managers need to be cognizant of the respective strengths and weaknesses of each member of staff: lone wolves should be given tasks that can be done individually while team players cooperate and collaborate on other aspects of the job. One major reason for conflict in the workplace therefore is a disregard for individual character. The employees are at the service of the business and an asset of the company. This being the case, it is in the company’s interest to make the best possible use of their talents, and benefit from the effort they put into their work and the time they spend at the office. A mismatch between the task at hand and the staff member can cause stress and unnecessary aggravation. In short, one major cause of conflict in the workplace is ill-qualified managers who fail to try and get the best out of their staff.
To sum up, businesses can do a lot to reduce conflict in the workplace. Devoting more care to office planning and making sure the right people are promoted to managerial posts are two steps which will vastly reduce the possibility of conflict in the workplace. Putting all the blame on staff members and expecting them to just get on is an unrealistic and potentially detrimental attitude.