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Do we really each have 4,000 office rows?

Had a spat about a missing stapler? Gone berserk when someone didn't put the milk back in the fridge? It seems you're not the only one.

The average UK employee has some kind of workplace squabble nearly two times a week, according to a survey from LondonOffices.com.

Over the course of a working life, this could amount to having more than 4,000 ding-dongs with colleagues.

What's your problem?

The biggest source of arguments (78 per cent) was found to be personality clashes, with difference of professional opinion (75 per cent) not far behind.

But a nuclear rumpus could break out over nothing, some respondents said.

'I've seen full-blown arguments spark off over the smallest things, the most ridiculous being over borrowing a pen without asking.'

Another recalled explosive flashpoints: 'We all suppress our anger for ages then it bursts, spewing vitriol everywhere.' The same worker complained that one manager was a 'post-it note bandit' who left 'nagging reminders everywhere...to wash up a spoon that was left in the sink' or because of a dusty desk.

What's your solution?

Post-it notes besides, managers do have a crucial role in promoting workplace harmony. Setting a poor example, asking the wrong things of staff, or the right things in the wrong way, can easily squash motivation and create a powder-keg atmosphere.

Effective management is about communication and leadership rather than playing lord of the manor and picking people up on petty matters.

It's also about being able to defuse tension. Slamming the lid tightly down on a pressure cooker of resentment is only going to work for so long - at some point that lid will blow off.

And if worst comes to the worst, a good manager will know how to get relationships back on track. Mediation, for example, is an excellent way of digging to the root of a problem so that long-lasting improvements can be made to workplace practices.

Acas publications and services

Acas Skills for supervisors training gives a comprehensive overview of essential managerial skills, develop the qualities needed to becoming a successful leader, and can help you deal with persistent and difficult staff behaviour.

Mediation training is also available, leading where appropriate to a fully accredited Certificate in Internal Workplace Mediation.

Acas experts can visit your organisation and work with you to build effective working relations, develop information, communication and consultation procedures, and mediate in employee conflicts. For details, see Disputes and mediation: how Acas can help.

Free, impartial advice is available through the Acas Helpline on 0300 123 1100.

Visit the Acas Training and Business Solutions area for more information.


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