Working in an office, as millions of Americans do, can sometimes be extremely stressful.

Depending on the situation, there may be a serious dispute at your business which warrants calling Self & Spurgeon Legal Group. We specialize in employment law, but not every office situation should be solved in the courtroom. Today we’re going to talk about some problem solving tips for those tense office moments that you can employ on your own before turning to legal counsel.

Naturally, there are some cases that should be immediately brought to a prosecutor’s attention and if you aren’t sure, or none of these other tactics have worked, please do not hesitate to contact us, we can review your case for free.

Let’s cover some good problem solving strategies and common situations that will help relieve that awkward tension without involving a court of employment law unless necessary.

1. Address The Problem

This may seem like an obvious tip, however, most people when dealing with office conflict do not tackle the real problem head on. Rather they would prefer to address the latest symptom of the underlying problem. Look past the most recent incident that has occurred, and uncover what the real problem is. For example, if your coworker is accusing you of gossiping during lunch because she was spying on you from around the corner, you should think about why she is spying in the first place. Address the issue that caused the symptom, not the other way around.

Additionally, conflicts within the office should be handled as directly and emotionlessly as possible. Focus on facts and actions and resolving conflict with logic rather than emotions. Strategize how to resolve the problem and reduce the possibility of it occurring in the future. Having an objective third-party can help the conversation but is not always necessary. So long as both parties remain honest, respectful, and calm, the conversation should flow relatively easily. If that isn’t the case or can’t happen then it’s time to call our employment attorneys and we’ll help you with next steps like contacting Human Resources or the Department of Labor.

2. Negotiate Properly

After realizing their that there is a conflict, compromises will be the next step. Considering there is no one else in the world like you — it’s important to note that the situation will not be resolved exactly how either of you envision. The best way to handle conflict in the office is by accepting the fact that the problem will most likely not be resolved the exact way you want it to, even if you take the issue to court. It is sometimes said that, “It’s a good compromise if everyone walks away upset.” We prefer to look at the situation as a good compromise being one where both parties are satisfied. To do this, you will need to be realistic and honest with yourself about what you need for closure or resolution of the problem versus what you want. Both of you should be prepared and willing to give up something of your own to meet your coworker half way.

3. Keep It Private

The worst thing you could possibly do is make your conflict public. Make sure that before you gossip or let in others on a petty argument that you communicate with your coworker in private, they may not even know they offended you. We understand the need to vent emotions and blow off steam but that should be done outside of work and to someone close that you trust without a conflict of interest, like a therapist. A good rule of thumb to follow is that the only people involved in a conflict or situation are the arguing parties and any witnesses — no one else.

Self & Spurgeon Legal Group

Employment law is a vague and difficult topic for many employees (and employers!) to approach. It’s tough to know when a line of no return has been crossed or what your rights are when you feel someone has gone too far. At Self & Spurgeon Legal Group, we are prepared to help you navigate the muddy waters of employment law and be sure that you will always feel safe and comfortable at your job. Call today for a free fifteen minute consultation with one of our employment law attorneys.