Coworking in the Era of COVID-19

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Coworking will never be what it once was, honestly, nothing will be. Coworking in the era of COVID-19 has taught us a lot of things, one thing is that remote working does work. However, we think everyone working remotely can agree that remote work is not as productive as when done in an office environment; you need the socialization provided in the office atmosphere to be your most productive and creative. Join us in watching as we sit down with our owner, JD Haase to learn more about why coworking is a great option even amidst the COVID-19 era.

 

 

After this pandemic, coworking will never be as dense as it once was. We have never believed in the idea of densification as to never take advantage of others. Ment has always been and always will be very flexible for its members.

If you are considering joining the cowork movement, Ment is ready for you! And the best perk: we’re squeaky clean! Our cleaning company is not just making our space clean, they are making it sterile so you can feel safe and comfortable from within our walls.

Sister Spaces

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One of the best things about coworking is that you can do it anywhere! That’s why we have sister spaces to collaborate with at iHub in Louisville, KY, and Center 615 in Nashville, TN.  What is a sister space you may ask? It’s simple! Ment created a partnership with these two spaces for our members that travel. It allows our members to work out of their spaces for free for the day.

 

iHub

iHub, like many coworking spaces, is constantly growing and changing. It’s a few years older than Ment and is owned by the University of Louisville Real Estate Foundation. I like to think Ment is in the perfect location of Bowling Green and speaking as a Louisville native, iHub is in the perfect location of Louisville. It’s a comfy space right off of Main St. near the up and coming neighborhood of Nulu, my favorite area downtown. 

They have 15 members working in a wide variety of fields. (Another reason to love coworking!) Like us, they have a great conference room that the whole community can rent, but they also host a lot of seminars and workshops run by local businesses. 

 

Center 615

Center 615 was founded in 2011 and started out as 1 building with private offices. Since then it has grown to have 60,000 square feet in 3 different buildings. (Maybe that will be us one day!) Their 92 offices are filled with roughly 250 members. They range from realtors to lawyers to accountants to coders and so much more. 

 

How has COVID-19 affected them?

There isn’t one person or company left untouched by the virus and having to adjust their routines.  Our sister spaces are in different cities so we’ve all had to adjust differently. All of us though have taken extra safety precautions to properly follow CDC guidelines over the last few months. 

iHub has been focusing on the highly touched points in common areas. Everyone has been asked to wear masks and check temperatures, as well as having the maintenance crew wearing gloves. They have also been changing out their air filters more often. 

Center 615 has still allowed 24/7 access to its members and the staff has been on a rotating schedule. While members still had access, many chose to stay home and many still are WFH, which actually allowed for repairs to take place after the Nashville tornado in early March. 

Tennessee opened a little earlier than KY did and their staff has been back full time since May 8th. They have taken all of the same steps as Ment and iHub have in practicing social distancing, wearing masks, checking temperatures, and providing hand sanitizer. Additionally, Center 615 has held off on providing their normal services of coffee, tea, and a nap room- can we get one of those? 

The community has been out of our coworking spaces these past few months, but we’re all working to get back together and to fully put the “co” in coworking again soon! 

 

 

*Special thanks to Molly O’Rourke at iHub and Beth Heflin at Center 615 for helping out with this blog! 

 

Communication is Key

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Crisis communication: It’s something that none of us want to think about but it is necessary.

If there’s one thing we in the business world have learned in the midst of a worldwide pandemic, it’s the importance of communication. Although we already had a pretty good lock on this, we learned how to take it up a notch (or few) when “crisis” occurred. 

As an intern during my first ever “PR gig,” it’s been quite a time to be alive. (Don’t worry I’ve got a whole blog post planned on how this has been an experience for me.) But a few things I will say have become an area of focus for me: preparation and communication.

Keeping your clients and customers, employees, and the public informed is crucial to remaining successful during times like this. If you have the mindset of “it can’t happen to me,” guess what? You’re wrong and it will

“The days of playing ostrich – burying your head in the sand and hoping the problem goes away – are gone.” Jonathon Bernstein, crisis management professional. 

 

A few tips: 

Prepare. Anticipating what may come is always the best first step. While it may be impossible to know what will happen and when it is even more of a reason to develop a general plan. When and if disaster does strike, at least you will be ahead of the game. 

Communicate. People want to know what’s going on, how you’re handling it, and what that means for them. You may not even know yet yourself, but the sooner you face the music, the better it will be. Ignoring your situation or putting it off will surely dig you deeper into a whole. Be honest. Be clear. And be upfront. Admit that it has/will change some things and you are doing your best to deal with it.

Over Communicating does not exist during a crisis. Share often and share as much as you know. People want to know that they are not alone and need to stay informed. More than likely, they won’t care if your video isn’t the best quality – they care that you took the time out of your day to make something addressing the situation and letting them know that you are there for them. This is what people will remember you for. 

Values. What better time to reinforce those values than now? (Hince our current theme for this month.) If you were thinking this was a way to throw everything out of the window and start running – you’re looking at it all wrong. Stand up and show the public eye (who is already watching even closer than before) what you stand for. If your values are in the right place, then it shouldn’t be hard to tie them to what you stand for

Compassion. Telling someone something that is truly earth-shattering is one thing, but having no regard for how it may impact them? That is catastrophic. Acknowledge the situation and the severity of it. Of course, you don’t want to cause panic but you also don’t want to sweep it under the rug. Offer your sincerity for the situation at hand and offer your support to them from your company. Maybe you can volunteer or offer fundraising support? Maybe you can donate equipment or supplies during this time? Even offering discounts or sales during this time can show that you care.  

Relevance. Make your changes – then communicate AGAIN. The last thing you want to do is have one of your pre-scheduled social media posts go out about how great the economy doing in the midst of a crisis. Make sure you keep an eye on your content and change it to fit the situation. There’s simply no way of getting around this one. You WILL need to create more content and probably scratch or rearrange a lot of it as well. 

 

Ment Cowork

We are no different from this world of crisis communication. For us, it meant restructuring our social media and blog content and reaching out to our members to keep them updated as we went. We contacted our community partners to develop plans moving forward and developed alternative ways to offer our services and perks to our members. 

Developing additional communication formats including an Instagram group and Slack channel, as well as weekly emailed newsletters for our members and weekly zoom meetings for staff was a transition but it is paying off. Lastly, we developed a campaign and Facebook group to encourage community support during this time. The possibilities are endless. It’s all about taking a route of action that best suits you. 

 

Getting Specific

I know – it’s a lot to take in. If you’re in a hurry, we’ve compiled a list to keep it short and sweet. Here are some of the best ways to follow crisis communications:

-Develop a crisis management plan

-Monitor social platforms and trends.

-Enact a crisis communications team and/or spokesperson.

-Communicate with staff members – make sure they understand the plan and are on the same page.

-Address the public (speeches, conferences, social media, etc.) 

-Develop holding statements. 

-Restructure content as needed.

-Reinforce or lockdown company values during this time.

-Offer compassion and understanding.

-Communicate, communicate, communicate. 

 

During a crisis, there are two types of people: the ones who go silent and the ones who get louder. 

Let’s be honest here – when this pandemic is over, are you going to the businesses that stayed silent or the ones that fought hard and loud to come out of it? My bet is on the ones who fought. They wanted it bad and they knew how to handle the situation…or maybe they didn’t, BUT they learned and they fought – and that’s what we all want to see. They were the ones making sure their products were still provided to you. And that makes all the difference in my book.

Bringing Life Into Your Workspace

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Social distancing doesn’t include plants am I right?! We love our green friends now more than ever! Whether it’s for the little extra mood boost that they are giving us, the improved air quality and immune system boost or the new home projects we can take on with them, they have become our new favorite thing.

Did we mention it’s officially spring? Unfortunately, some of the joys of our beloved season have taken a backseat to the issues surrounding our current COVID-19 pandemic…but let’s not forget the importance of making the best from our situations. 

And let’s also not forget – creating your ideal work space is key in having an environment that motivates and inspires you. If you are not happy in your workspace, then chances are you are not producing your best work. 

Kicking it back

If we take a look back on that little danish lifestyle term “hygge” and our previous theme from February, we can find that plants are just one of the many ways that you can create a cozy and inviting atmosphere (and one that allows you to be more productive). It’s all about finding those little things that bring us joy and comfort – something that has become a must here lately as we could all use a little extra hygge right about now. 

 

All about the Biophilic Design

When it’s hard to get outside – bring the outside in! Don’t just take our word for it, there is an actual term for this practice and one that Ment has 

greatly taken into consideration with the design of our coworking space.

“Biophilia refers to the fact that as human beings, we have an instinctive bond with nature and our natural surroundings.”

The use of Biophilic design has many benefits including enhanced wellbeing and boosts in worker morale. Research shows that flowers generate happiness and reduce stress related depression while also improving memory and concentration. 

 

Health Benefits

There are some crazy cool benefits that can come from plants. Did you know air quality is actually a major problem? Even more so in your own house than in the middle of a city! This is because air pollutants make their way into these places that we call home and many times don’t make their way out. This leads to increased chances of bacteria and viruses…sound familiar? 

Let’s not forget about how big of a role mental health plays in our wellbeing. It is important more so now than ever before that we don’t take this for granted. Simply being around a plant, whether looking at it, smelling it or just working around it can lead to positive effects on the brain, boosting your moods which in turn boosts your immune system and relieves stress. What don’t these little guys do?! 

 

Redecorating time is here

If you’re looking for a way to fill an empty corner or add some color then of course Plants are the perfect way to do that as well. With the extra time on our hands, it could be the perfect opportunity for us to all do some much needed redecorating. Turns out theres even a science behind it. Using the techniques of Feng Shui can move you in the right direction towards using them effectively. 

 

Get creative

You know you’ve been looking at those home projects and wishing you had the chance to do them yourself – chances are you do now. Get creative with nontraditional ways of displaying your florals and greenery such as on carts, benches, shelves, crates, or even a ladder (per my next home project for my own house). Limited on space? Get a little crazy and hang them around! Hanging plants are always a unique and fun way to show off the life of your plants! 

Still wanting to stick with your roots of desk and table plants? No problem – get crafty! The amount of cute and creative plant pots that I have come across recently is enough to make you want to buy a plant anyways. Paint your own and make it your next DIY project – this way you can make sure that your pots and decor match your space in a way that you want them to.

 

 

Get floral

If you thought this was only about green, think again. Flowers are just as important and if not more aesthetic than your ordinary plants. Not to mention, they add an extra pop of color while giving you many of the same benefits that your greenery provides. Many local shops are finding ways to remain active with customers, so contact your local florist to see if there are options for you to get your hands on some florals during this pandemic. 

 

Fake it till you make it

Sometimes, for many reasons such as allergies, workplace restrictions, (or in this case, the unfortunate times of a Coronavirus outbreak) we turn to using man made greenery. This a perfectly acceptable (and honestly smart in my opinion) way to bring the outdoors in without all of the hassle and heartbreak of having to depart from your once full of life peony. With the latest announcement made by Governor Beshear, it’s harder than ever to get out and buy local products, so this may be your best option at the moment. It’s the cost effective gift that keeps giving! 

 

 

Asking our partner

We couldn’t pass up the opportunity to ask our community partner Jules Sandlin, owner of Jules with the Flowers and current community partner, for her take on this. Sandlin says that using unique things found in nature such as twigs, leaves and even moss can be unique ways to add a personal and natural touch.

“These things just add an extra element of texture and nature and that’s always a good idea.” 

Most important: have fun and create a space that is truly your own! Use this time away to make your work or home environment the best that it can be. No matter the budget or style that you’re going for, there is a design that works for you and we can guarantee that it has some greenery and color with your name on it. 

We simply have to give a shoutout to our partner Jules for the added beauty this month around our offices and for not letting the unfortunate circumstances stand in the way of our partnership. We are thankful to have such an amazing workspace that captures the feels and vibes that we aim for. From the exposed brick and perfectly placed greenery, (all thanks to Sarah Smalling Interiors), to the skylights and windows galore, we have captured the essence of nature in a way that makes us Ment and we hope that you can do the same for your workspace. After all, there’s just something about that natural life that we just can’t get enough of these days!

The Green Dream

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Our favorite color for the month? You guessed it! We’re bringing a whole new definition to the idea of “going green” this month at Ment. 

With our community partner for March being Jules with the Flowers and spring being upon us, we couldn’t think of a better time to talk about this theme. Not to mention, I am super psyched about all of the (punny) floral wordplay that is about to happen. 

So what exactly are we talking about? Going green in every aspect of your life. Yes, this means doing your part in the community to reduce, reuse and recycle, but also means thinking outside of the box and finding ways to incorporate a little more green (literally) into your life. You can do this by decorating with plants and sprucing up your work environment or maybe focusing on healthy eating habits by adding a little more green in your diet. All of these are awesome ways to consider helping yourself stay on track to be a better you. After all, we didn’t set those 3:59s at the beginning of this year for nothing right? 

Ment to be Green

I know what you’re thinking but the coworking world is no exception to the green movement. There are so many ways to be more conscious in the workplace and here are 5 we partake in:

1. Recycling. Did you know that Ment recycles? One of the easiest and most important ways to do your part was just a given for us! We also use Land Shark Shredding, Bowling Green’s leading green and confidential paper shredding company.

2. Coffee. We practically live off of it here so why not try to save on the amount of cups that we are using for this drink that we call our lifeblood. And as if you needed another reason to use your favorite mugs, but we are all about it here! Our cabinets are overflowing with a selection so take your pick or bring in your own. 3. Natural light. No, I promise not to talk about how great it is for photo ops this time, but guys it is a money saver! Research shows that you can cut down energy costs by up to 75% by using natural light. If you don’t need the artificial light don’t use it – simple as that! (But okay I mean the at-work selfies are a plus as well). 4. Going Paperless. We may not be completely paperless here at Ment, but we aren’t far from it. With our website, advertising and outreach efforts being almost solely digital, we don’t find the need to use any more trees than necessary! Not to mention our monthly newsletters are always sent out through email.

5. Lighting. Another simple energy saving practice – using energy efficient light bulbs and simply turning off lights when you leave a room. For businesses like Ment that allow 24 hour access, this can be tricky, but we try to do this as much as possible and make sure that we can educate our members and employees on how to be more conscious of their use. 

Stay tuned to see how your local florist shop (and our latest community partner) is going green in her own life and how you can take advantage of greener practices here in your community.

How to “Hygge” It

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Ever try to get work done, but you’re just not comfortable? The lighting is bad, it’s noisy, or maybe that dang desk chair just isn’t cutting it anymore. We’ve all been there and while this is not meant to be a sales pitch, hear me out. We simply want to show you how you can make your work space a little bit more enjoyable – by adding a little hygge to it. 

This concept, and our theme for the month, can help you bring in all the right vibes that you need in a work space. So how do you bring a “feeling” into how you work? By doing little things that make your space more “you.” Whatever it is that lifts up your spirits. 

Lighting

If you’re like me, natural light and windows can significantly change your mood. Sometimes hanging out by the windows in Ment is the perfect motivation for me. An entire room or skylight to soak up those rays might be just what you need. Use the light available to you to set a mood. No, I’m not talking about rose petals and romantic music (although if that is your thing, we are not against it). I’m talking about dimming those office lights or using those lamps that you have and getting your “cozy” on. Candle lovers, I know you guys are listening – this is for you too! 

This is where I add the Disclaimer right, Hayley? *Ment is not responsible for any fires, naps or yoga sessions that may result. 

Move Around

I’m also one of those people that simply cannot always sit behind a desk. Sometimes kicking your shoes off and cuddling up on the couch or just moving out of your typical workspace can get you into a better headspace. I seriously love sitting out in our open coworking space (preferably on the couches or cushioned chairs) with my laptop and books. 

Enjoy the little things 

Things like the smell of fresh roasted coffee in the morning or the smiles that greet you around the office. Sometimes we just need to take a moment to be grateful for those small things in life. When I enter the parking lot for my work days at Ment, I am forever thankful for that little parking pass that allows me to not have to worry about searching for a spot for 20 minutes! Being able to work downtown in such a beautiful building and with such great people is also uplifting for me. Our members? They love knowing that coffee will be waiting for them and that if they want to take advantage of places in the community, their member perks allow them to do that. 

Comfort Items & Decor

When practicing hygge, it’s all about making a space that works for you. Bring in photos of your loved ones. Decorate your space in a way that brings you happiness. Our community partner is helping us with that this month! Maybe bring in some of the outside with plants, real or fake depending on how well of a plant mom (or dad) you are *shamefully looks away*. Essential oil lovers, we know you are already packing them around with you so embrace it! Bring in that diffuser and let the wellness scents fill your office. Cold natured people or employees of a company that simply doesn’t know how to use the thermostat – do not be ashamed. Keep that blanket close to you or even that heater that you’re probably already hiding under your desk. 

Interact

The Danish are also all about genuine relationships. Interact with your colleagues or fellow office mates. Strike up a conversation or simply give a few greetings and smiles here and there. Basically, just practicing encouragement and spreading good vibes can go along way! Our members are all unique and come from totally different backgrounds and businesses. This makes it the perfect place to get to know those within our own little “Ment community.”

Focus on yourself

Don’t forget to take some time for yourself. Practice self-care and make it a part of your daily routine if you’re not already. Again, it’s all about the little things: take some time for you, step outside on your break, reflect on your day or your goals or make yourself a work playlist. I have been really into coffee shop music and just chill sounds that help me to focus without causing distraction. 

Remember: comfort = productivity.

According to the Happiness Research Institute,“…78% of Danish workers value a safe, cosy and casual atmosphere in the office.” 

Maybe we are not so different here in the U.S. We just didn’t know there was a term for it! So grab those blankets, candles, coffee mugs or anything else that brings you joy and pack it in with you. Get comfortable and get it done! If you need a little extra inspiration, we are only an elevator ride up and a day pass away!

For more information and tips to keep “hygging” on, check out some of our other articles on work-life balance, minimalism and loving where you work.

 

The Convenience of Coworking

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Work when you want & can

 

Coworking spaces are on the rise all around the world. If you are following Ment, I’m sure you are familiar with who we are and what we offer by now. However, have you really thought of the benefits you could gain by giving coworking a try? 

 

You have heard it before, one of the biggest pros to coworking is convience. Before you look scroll past and ignore the rest of this post, I want you to break down your life and ask yourself how convenient it is. Are you commuting an hour to your office every day? Trying to work 9-5 at your home office while starting a family? Driving 15 minutes to spend $5 on a fancy latte just to share on your instagram story? Neglecting cooking dinner every night due to your chaotic, all over the place work schedule? Lets face it, we all have things that come up last minute and cause inconvenience, but often times we place ourselves right there in the very situation. 

 

Coworking instills a convenient, professional workplace that you can go to, right in the heart of your town. For an affordable price, you are able to know and trust the environment you work in and get things done, so you have time for fun later in the evening without feeling guilty. 

 

The friendly environment that coworking offers provides individuals with a community rather than competition, whether it be working together to complete tasks, or even blow off some steam over a cup of coffee. Coworking allows you to network and build connections with like minded individuals who will inspire you to do your best. 

 

Do you travel for work? Many coworking companies offer sister spaces, in which you can go and work for free. There’s nothing worse than working out of your hotel room or airport between flights. Here at Ment, we partner with IHub and Center 615, based out of Louisville and Nashville to provide free day passes to our traveling members. 

 

Overall, coworking reduces uncertainty and allows you to leave your work where it belongs – at work. What is your next step to add convenience in your life? 

 

3 Tips to Start September off Right

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As labor day weekend draws to an end, we all hopefully will head back to work this week with cleared minds and hopefully some rest. September has somehow snuck up on us, and can I just say how rude of summer to come and go so quickly. As business men and women, it is essential that we take each and every day to our full advantage. Today, I’m going to offer three tips to start the month off on the right foot and make it the most productive one yet. 

A new month brings the chance to start new, set goals, accomplish more and overall better yourself. Focus on where you’re at today, where you would like to be in the future and the steps you are going to take to get there. 

Get a good night’s sleep: I’m sure you have heard this one before, but how often have you actually tried to enable it in your routine? Leave your work at work, come home and be present with the ones you love and when it is time to unplug, I challenge you to really and truly unplug this month. Leave your cell phone charging across the room, lay your clothes out for the next morning and get to bed at a decent time. Wake up a bit earlier this month than you’re used to, even if it’s just 15 minutes. Use this time to manage morning tasks, answer emails and eat a nutritious breakfast. 

Set Goals: If you don’t have goals, WYD? This month set goals for yourself or your business. Whether it be one big one or three small ones, the ball is in your court. Put these goals somewhere you will look at them multiple times a day and each time you’re working on something, ask yourself if what you’re doing aligns with a specific goal. If it doesn’t, it probably is taking away from something more beneficial you could be doing. And that leads us to…

Avoid Multitasking: My personal worst. This month, rather than micromanaging one hundred little projects, try focusing on one project or task at a time. Decide how you want to manage your ideas and follow a list or timeline to check things off. Believe it or not, this will actually decrease stress and increase productivity. 

Find an accountability partner to help you establish these goals and stick to them. I hope these few tips help you start September off on the best foot possible! 

 

Getting Zesty – Interview with Emma Napier

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Happy August! Each month for the rest of the year, Ment is partnering with a local business on our blog and social media accounts. This month is Zest Juice for Life, owned by Emma Napier: a 24-year-old from Bowling Green, Kentucky. The local juice shop located in the heart of the downtown scene has many flavors of tasty, healthy juice and they promote a healthy lifestyle in everything they do. 

Emma Napier, a graduate from Western Kentucky University, got her start working in an office for a national company in a corporate office. She was teaching spinning at The Spot next door to what would be her future business as well. She loved her coworkers and the work she was doing but disliked the stuffy and strict culture that was in her cubicle-filled office. “I soon realized that sitting at a desk was not for me,” she recalls.  

                             

Emma knew the previous owner of Zest from her job at The Spot and soon became friends with her. From this friendship, she fell in love with juice. She would drive all the way across town to get juice from the original Zest, the home of the former owner. The owner mentioned selling the business and asked if she knew of anyone who was interested. Emma knew instantly that this was the perfect opportunity to transition out of the cubicle and bought Zest Juice for Life. 

One of Emma’s favorite things about owning Zest is the amazing small business community located in Bowling Green. While she is a fairly new business owner, owners from all over town have offered to help her. “Bowling Green has such a thriving community of small business owners and truly want to see each other succeed,” she notes. She says learning a lot from so many people who have been in the same shoes as her. She has gotten to work with and collaborate with some of them and says they have helped her create her space, the logo, the menu boards, and more. 

  

Of course, I had to ask Emma what her -ment word was, which is a little something we do here at Ment by picking your favorite word with -ment as the subject and having it describe you, such as experiment, achievement, nourishment. Emma said her word was encourage-ment. She aims to be a smiling face to anyone who walks through the doors of Zest, and hopes her encouraging spirit keeps people coming back for years to come. 

Emma’s favorite juice she sells is kickin’ carrot, a juice that contains apple, ginger, and the star: carrots. Other juices you can find at Zest include Kale Yeah!, Jolly Green, Happy Beet, or my favorite, Hula Hooch. 

Check Emma and the rest of the Zest team out on their Instagram: @zestjuiceforlife

Conflict Engagement

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Written by guest writer and Ment member, Nolan Bramschreiber: Hello! My name is Nolan and I’m a husband, student of Organizational Behavior, Outcome & Planning Specialist with interCare and a mountain bike coinsure!

Conflict exists whether it is acknowledged or not. If placed on a spectrum, conflict would range widely in degree.  Some conflict could be categorized as surface level and easy to resolve, while other found to be deeply imbedded and spanning generations without full resolution.  If conflict is somehow ominously present, touching all relationships and interactions at some point and to some certain degree, why does it seem so difficult to navigate? Wouldn’t continual exposure positively increase one’s ability to engage conflict effectively? It is imperative we understand what creates conflict and prevents us from engaging it in a productive fashion. 

Building an Understanding

In order to understand how one might engage conflict productively, we must first understand what brings it about. Conflict is an interaction that can provide solid ground to build upon. Instead of vilifying views, opinions or differences, its best to seek clarification and understanding. This process referrers to differentiation. It is absolutely imperative for those engaging in conflict to spend significant time understanding differences between each other if their hope is to move away and out of the differentiation stage. Without all constituents embracing and understanding present differences, differentiation will move into integration with one foot still in the differentiation stage; forcing parties to start over in the future.

Acting on an Understanding.  

Understanding and legitimizing difference in perspective is not enough to solve a problem in conflict.  While an in-depth understanding is the foundation to problem solving, the integration stage is where parties explore and implement resolutions based on common ground. Integration can be marked by “standoffs” and “slings and arrows”, but if parties can endure the pain of furthering those processes forward, the diversity of thought can lead to actual solutions between parties. In practical application and to effectively handle conflict, understanding of conflict management approaches need to be addressed throughout all management levels, rather than strictly through Human Resources or a legal office. In the application of understanding differences and moving conflict management forward, parties need to understand what scenerios could arise to derail progress.  

It’s imperative the field based application be centered and focused on the understanding of differentiation, integration and aspects that disrupt the effectiveness of the linear model. Avoidance and escalation are threats in moving conflict management forward. The mere appearance of either escalation or avoidance do not presume ineffectiveness, but if gone unregulated, could derail the conflicts journey to problem solving. 

Applying my Understanding.  

In encountering conflict with loved ones, colleagues and friends, I have often found myself in an uncomfortable position. In order to mitigate potential conflict, my default position would be to heed the opinions or perspectives of whomever is speaking, and not state my opposing position.  While this behavior has evolved over time with growing confidence in independent perspectives and perceptions, I feel a tension to fall back into this uncomfortable position of forfeiting my difference by not advocating for or engaging it. This behavior is often perpetuated by failed attempts to voice my developing opinion.  Now, with the understand of how differentiation and integration works, I can confidently approach conflict with a genuine curiosity about why other perspectives deviates from mine. This acknowledgment provides a rich and robust opportunity to expand my horizon beyond norms applicable to me. If harnessed, I believe we can all have a better chance at conflict engagement.