What Can You Do to Cut Down Friction in Your Workplace?

Posted: June 27, 2022

There are a few different types of stress that may be present in your business right now, either or both of which could be causing no small amount of distress to your team members and disruption to your processes. Let’s explore the sources of these stresses—digital/workplace friction and interpersonal friction—and what can be done to help resolve them.

Let’s begin by examining how digital friction, also known as workplace friction, can impact your employees’ workdays.

Digital/Workplace Friction Comes from Having More than You Need

Let me ask you a question: how many different applications are your team members expected to use to communicate and/or collaborate with? All said, how many different applications do they have to choose from for this purpose?

Here’s the long and the short of it: the more options your team members have to choose from to process and store information, the harder it is going to be to find later on. The same can be said if your company has so much information, the important and pertinent data is hard to find.

Finally, we have to discuss how many options people have to communicate with their coworkers—and how many of these communications are strictly necessary. We’ve all been there: we’re a participant in a group chat, and while the conversation going on is important, it doesn’t currently concern you… or perhaps the chat is being used for some healthy, team-building off-topic conversation that you, again, have no stake in. The incessant notifications can easily become a stressor, especially when we’re trying to focus on some other task.

Fortunately, Easing This Kind of Friction is Relatively Simple…

The name of the game is to streamline. That’s really it. Establish which tools are to be used for certain processes, and set the example for the rest of your team to follow. This is also made easier by removing legacy systems and focusing on the outcomes when making different decisions. Which of your solutions accomplishes the most for your business, presenting the most value? Eliminating the rest will reduce the friction your employees feel in their daily processes.

Interpersonal Friction is a Different Animal…

…and it's one that remote work has unfortunately made all the more challenging—and, it would seem, common. This is for a variety of reasons. The fact that your team members can hide their body language behind a keyboard certainly doesn’t help, and neither does the tendency for such matters to go unaddressed as management awaits the opportunity to discuss it in person.

And, while I hope you aren’t shrugging this off as something for your team members to “just deal with,” it is important to recognize that this kind of animosity can have impacts on your business as well. In addition to poorer outcomes on projects and the like, workplace issues have caused many people to call in sick at times—ultimately impacting the bottom line.

Therefore, It is In Your Best Interest to Minimize Interpersonal Friction

There are a few things you can do to make this simpler, especially where your remote team members are concerned. First off—and related to our first point—you need to be sure you’ve provided them with the communication options they need to properly work with each other. While it is important that you don’t overload them with software options, they still need to have a variety of communication channels available to them. Fortunately, many modern collaboration platforms include the important ones—video conferencing and instant messaging.

You also need to be able to spot potential problems, and these communication tools can help you do so. Check your team’s body language while video conferencing, and keep an eye out for any changes in their behavior while messaging the team as a whole. If one person changes their tone or even stops participating when someone else engages, that’s a sign you need to step in.

While We Can’t Help You Ease Workplace Tensions, We Can Give You the Tools You Need to Do So

Whether you need assistance identifying the software that will best serve your business or need the communication solutions to keep all your workers engaged and happy, we can help get you set up. Reach out to us at (250) 483-5623 to learn more.

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