Remote Work

Effective communication guide on managing & resolving conflict in remote teams

• February 5, 2021
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anagement gurus often use terms like culture, conflict, equal opportunities, open communication and many more. Well, these are much more than terms! Their presence or absence determines the growth and image of an organisation.

In this blog, we will talk about two management principles: Culture and Conflicts. The company culture reflects what the organisation stands for. It also determines how the brand is perceived by all its stakeholders, including employees and customers. 

If you can create a winning culture that aligns with the brand values, then you get the right talent to work for you, your customers become loyal to you and more. You have a success mantra right there!

Conflicts, on the other hand, are a part of every organisation too. If you have even a dozen employees, there are bound to be conflicts. Hence, conflict resolution and management is essential and is a true reflection of the leadership within an organisation.

Be it an office or remote work environment, good culture and conflict-free environment is something that every employee looks forward to. The one trait of a manager that can help in having both of these in place is through clear communication. 

Communication goes beyond sending emails and being a part of meetings. It means being a listener and problem solver when the need arises. 

Let us delve into some effective communication skills that will help you in improving culture and reducing conflicts within your remote teams. 

How to improve culture in remote teams

  • Meet regularly: Remote workers can sometimes get lonely and aloof from organizational updates! Schedule regular meetings where employees can be kept abreast of organisational changes, innovations, promotions etc.

    These meetings can also be a platform where team members are recognised for their contribution to the organisation. Welcome new team members and communicate your culture to them too in these meetings.

  • Have an open environment: Create an environment where people feel empowered to voice their opinions. Team members shouldn’t be judged or admonished for any suggestions made by them. By doing this, you increase participation and also get different viewpoints which would help in the growth of the organisation. 

  • Walk the talk: Teams follow their leaders. So, if you want the team to follow certain principles and rules, you will have to do so yourself. Simplistically putting there are times when your actions speak louder than your words. Ensure that you walk the talk which will translate within your team as well. 

  • Meet outside work: This formula for team building works even in virtual workspaces. Set aside a schedule for the team to interact at regular intervals.

    On a platform like Airmeet, teams can even host a fun meeting where they chat, interact and probably engage in team-building activities. Using virtual platforms, ensure that your teams meet, bond and stay connected beyond work.  (Read: Airmeet vs ON24)

  • Take feedback: Feedback from co-workers should be a constant and on-going process. Polls, surveys, reviews are some of the ways where they can share about their achievements, their satisfaction at work and with other processes at the organisation and much more. Assessments like these also help in course correction as and when needed.

These guidelines are simple yet important to implement within a distributed workforce. But to get a winning culture, you will have to keep repeating these steps and follow-up whenever needed. All the hard-work is satisfying because you will build an open and positive culture in your organisation. 

Reducing conflicts in remote teams

Two forms of conflict commonly arise in remote teams. The first one is a task-related conflict where two members may have divergent ways of approaching a task and taking it to a conclusion. The second common conflict is interpersonal, where differences crop up between co-workers.

A perceptive manager is one who is prepared for these and takes measures to ascertain that conflicts are kept to the minimum.

  • Clear communication: As a manager, you will have to make sure that communication is clear, inclusive and transparent. Given that your team is spread across the globe, the right kind of communication will ascertain that everyone is on the same page.

    If you are the sole contact point between the organisation and the team, keep the flow of information going. This will prevent miscommunication and misconceptions. Communicate, communicate and communicate!

  • Look for behavioural changes: In an office environment, it is easy for a manager to identify behavioural changes.

    However, in a remote working space, this can be a challenge. The prime indicator of behavioural change in a team member would be a change in his/her style of communication. Though an arduous task, noticing and acting on these changes will help in preventing some major conflicts.

  • Set clear responsibilities: Every member of a team likes a role of importance and some visibility. To achieve this, managers will have to chalk-out clear roles and responsibilities for team members. This way, you establish transparency and accountability for the entire team.
  • Don’t underplay small issues: Never push tell-tale signs of conflict under the carpet and think you will deal with it later. You never know when it will snowball into something big and unmanageable. When you see the first signs of conflict, address it with the concerned people and ensure that it is resolved in the best way possible. 

  • Be accessible and approachable: Don’t be the manager sitting in her gilded tower! Instead, be there for the team. When members of your team know that you are accessible and trust-worthy, they will communicate and express their concerns knowing that you will make an effort in resolving it. So, be there and show that you care for your team. 

Last but not least, set up time regularly for the team to bond and build better relationships. Conflicts are inevitable and can destroy teams. Being prepared, communicating right and working towards curtailing conflicts is the sign of a responsible manager.

"Being prepared, communicating right and working towards curtailing conflicts is the sign of a good manager."

Being prepared, communicating right and working towards curtailing conflicts is the sign of a good manager.

Airmeet as a communication tool

It is clear from the above that effective communication can help build culture and reduce conflicts. So, use a platform that can be an effective tool and will help achieve both your goals. 

Airmeet is an online events platform that has been built for making real connections. The scalable platform offers a wide range of features and can be used for team meetings, informal get-togethers, conferences, feedback and much more.

Know more about Airmeet and build a remote team with an exceptional culture and lesser conflicts. 

(Read: Airmeet vs Zoom)

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