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Conflict in Asynchronous Working Environments

By Karen Gubb

Much of the work that I do for Teamery is done asynchronously. This way of working has provided a way for me to contribute and add to our body of work even though there is one of the weekly team meetings that I often cannot attend.

We are helping many of our clients to figure out the transition to working asynchronously and everything it brings. It brings many benefits which I have discussed in other pieces, but it does also bring up some unique challenges. One of those is the demand to change the way in which team conflict is identified and managed.

What we have seen is that there are situations that are more likely to create conflict. These include individuals feeling left out or unappreciated. Most often this is a sign that the systems and processes in place are not working and may need to be reviewed, and also that expectations have not been well communicated, or that the communication channels being used are not a good fit for that organisation.

The fact that it is harder to read tone and underlying emotion in written communication certainly also plays a role. Added to that, spending less time in person with your colleagues may make it hard to get to know them, so you lose information like ‘Dave in accounting is always a little sarcastic’-.

Conflict can feel terrifying and, unmanaged in asynchronous environments, it can go underground resulting in either silent disconnection or passively aggressive communications. What we have learnt at Teamery, both through our own experience of asynchronous work, and through the work with our clients is that communication and clarity go a long way to preventing conflict, but that when conflict does occur it presents an opportunity to review and clarify goals, processes and communication.

We have seen asynchronous conflict as an opportunity to grow and do things better and we can help your team to do the same. Contact us at

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