What role does technology play in workplace conflicts?

Experts from Cheeky Munkey discuss the role that technology plays in causing and resolving conflict in the workplace.

Reduce generational conflict

Every modern business is reliant to some degree on technology, and digitisation is an excellent way to simplify many tasks necessary to the day to day function of a company.

Yet according to a recent survey, the increasing use of technology in the workplace has the potential to cause as many problems as it solves. A 2019 whitepaper by recruitment consultancy Robert Walters stated that:

Millennials widely perceive technology to be at the root of workplace conflicts. 34% reported that older workers not understanding new technology was the chief cause of these conflicts, followed by younger workers becoming frustrated at using outdated technology (33%).’

The efficiency of technology in the workplace is therefore reliant upon two factors:

  1. The technology is up to date
  2. All employees are trained in how to use it correctly

Any lapse in training or technical issues with the system negates the benefits of technology and instead makes it a source of inconvenience for employees.

As the white paper shows, the conflict this causes is generational, as Millennials – digital natives – are exasperated by slow technology while Baby Boomers and Generation X find unfamiliar systems and software intimidating if they don’t receive comprehensive training.

Yet when well applied, technology offers many opportunities to prevent intergenerational conflict and resolve multiple other sources of workplace tension.

Streamline the recruitment process

Minimising workplace conflict begins at recruitment. It is essential to hire candidates who are a good fit for the existing workplace culture, and technology can help the recruitment process considerably in this respect.

Although some degree of conflict is always inevitable, judicious use of recruitment IT software can mean the difference between finding a perfect new employee and passing up a potentially brilliant candidate. Hiring the wrong person isn’t just costly in terms of time and finance, but may also result in personality clashes that are detrimental to a harmonious workplace.

Not only does recruitment software simplify the hiring process by integrating with online job boards and automating where possible, it is an essential tool for the modern company due to its ability to help identify suitable candidates while avoiding potentially costly human error and bias.

Improve communication between employees

The rise in remote working has opened up many possibilities for the modern workplace. A study conducted by the employee engagement firm TINYpulse in 2016 showed that 91% of remote workers believe that they are more productive when working from home as opposed to in the office and the popularity of working remotely has only grown since then. The 2019 State of Remote Work Report shows that 99% of respondents said they would like to work remotely.

Yet the increased freedom and flexibility that remote working offers can also cause a sense of distance and dislocation between employees if not managed correctly.

Remote working necessitates good communication between the remote worker, their immediate supervisor and the rest of the team or department and as many of the problems that arise in a workplace can be attributed to poor communication, or lack of communication this is a pressing concern for any company that incorporates remote working.

Employees are part of a global workplace, today more than ever before, and technology is an excellent way to facilitate discussion between employees who might be located in different parts of a building, different offices or even different countries.

Telecommunication solutions such as a Voice-over-IP (VoIP) telephony system – which allows employees to log in to the phone on the particular desk that they are using that day – provide for contemporary office space solutions such as hot-desking while keeping channels of communication open.

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