According to Statistics Canada, roughly 40% of Canadian jobs can be done from home. With more of your workforce working offsite, disputes with colleagues don’t disappear. In fact, remote work brings its own set of challenges that may be increasingly affecting employees negatively, and every conflict has its costs including added stress for them and lower productivity for your organization.

Uniquely certain issues make remote work more prone to conflict:

A lack of incidental (but important) information

Without casual conversations at the workplace, an employee may feel ignored, or not share personal matters that are affecting them.


A lack of information can lead to anxiety. Is their job secure? Are team members talking about you behind their back?

Communication challenges

Without physically seeing co-workers there are missed cues like body language or tone of voice. During an online presentation or discussion, it’s harder to ensure everyone understands and agrees with what’s being said.

Social isolation

Working in isolation can cause sensitivity to negative feedback, leading to conflict, and may also lower online inhibitions leading to written communication that would never be said face-to-face.

Using policy, procedure, a dispute system, and engagement management are necessary actions to reduce the conflict spiral, but emotional and physical healthcare support can facilitate positive resolution.

Remote workers need the support that health insurance provides

Beyond workplace issues, there are some unique health challenges your remote employees may be facing that add to conflict escalation:

• about 41% of people working remotely reported lower back pain, 23.5% reported neck pain, and 50% said their neck pain has gotten worse since they started working from home – causing irritability and exhaustion

• when your workers can no longer regularly see old friends and are not only working from home but adapting to ‘living at work’ they may struggle with stress.

It is important that employees address both physical and mental health issues with medical attention, because, in the long run, if steps aren’t taken, it will translate into more serious health issues that can impact their work behaviours and ability to work.

Ensure your health insurance employee benefits offer key supports including:

• Built-in tools to help employees learn new ways to deal with the expected and unexpected in life including mindfulness tools and motivational programs to help them achieve manage their health and achieve health goals

• Prescription medication coverage to decrease their suffering from stress or physical pain.

• Adequate plan maximums for expenses for physical and mental health therapy that covers both in person and virtual appointments are eligible.

If your plan lacks these benefits, an individual health plan can top-up coverage to offset the gap and can be an option for part time or contract or seasonal workers who don’t qualify for your group coverage. Take steps to connect all employees to understanding your health plan’s features and how they can choose an individual health plan to take care of their needs.

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