It was a long time back that people vented, cursed, and rolled their eyes dramatically. The realness of fighting out loud, even in formal settings, like offices, has become a rare nostalgia now.

Workplace anger is now quieter, often contained in the string of notification sounds having hastily typed messages on Slack or long notes on WhatsApp. These conditions are ripe for workplace disaster. 

Easier To Demonize Online Colleagues

Many teammates have not seen each other in person since the pandemic happened. The work relationships have deteriorated, but the burden of tasks is ever-increasing. The constant crisis like layoffs, inflation, and more Covid waves have further deplored the conditions of the employees. 

People vent out at colleagues as it is easier to demonize a disembodied online worker. Workers receive enraged messages, and instead of talking it out, they respond with a retort which is half-baked and clumsy.

Easier To Disagree Virtually

Tessa West, a psychologist at New York University US and the author of Jerks at Work says that “people get dopamine boosts by saying negative things. The reward is more stronger and immediate than the cost.” Simply, being drained, stressed, and feeling depleted are strong factors leading to aggressive behavior.

Also Read: Four Of Every 10 Employees In India Show High Levels Of Burnout, Stress Due To Toxic Workplace Culture

As most of the work has shifted online, conversations increasingly happen online more than in the pre-pandemic era, even though these tools were available back then. Anil Dash, head of the collaboration platform Glitch, has noticed a pattern that people disagree with one another more freely online than in real settings in the office.

They have broad-ranging debates on politics, tech ethics, and snacks. Most of them are heated.

With a majority of remote interactions happening through written texts, shorter time-saving messages are perceived as less courteous or rude.

Lesser Light-hearted Moments

The fights are erupting in a work environment that is already nerve-racking. Employees have to deal with the stress of their work relationships without having any light moments whatsoever. 

In remote working conditions, there is a lack of lighthearted in-person moments to alleviate the tension. The dumb jokes, washroom whispers, and snack breaks are the small privileges that are not available in remote working conditions.

Emojis As Conflict Creator

US-based therapist, Brad Smallwood, saw his patients’ stress levels rise as they delve deeper into the working pattern of their coworkers online in these three years. Workers are learning which emoji or slang can lead to unintentional conflict. 

For example, a lot of people see thumbs up as a digital eye-roll, while KK can mean ‘ugh’ or ‘whatever.’ People used to work in traditional offices but now don’t have the option to ask a colleague in conflict to come out for a small walk. For remote workers, it is not real anymore. 

Talking it out and venting it out are two different things. Talking symbolizes cooperation, whereas venting out means burdening the other one with thoughts. Colleagues are our working partners and not our punching bags. The sooner we understand, the better it is for us and them.

Image Credits: Google Images

Feature image designed by Saudamini Seth

Sources: The Guardian, Economic Times, CNBC

Find the blogger: Katyayani Joshi

This post is tagged under: online, work from home, online colleagues, remote workers, dress, anxiety, mental health, slang, emojis, anger, conflict creator, dumb jokes, less courteous, rude, anger issues, workplace anger, silent, notifications, WhatsApp, slack

Disclaimer: We do not hold any right, or copyright over any of the images used, these have been taken from Google. In case of credits or removal, the owner may kindly mail us.

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