Experiencing some inter-office friction? Not sure what to do, who to talk to, and how to handle it? You’re not alone. Chances are, at some point in your career, you’ll run into a little tension with a coworker. And while it can sometimes be resolved simply with communication between the two of you, at other times, navigating the situation may not be as easy.
If you’re wondering whether the conflict is severe enough to justify looping in your boss, there are a few indicators you should be looking out for. Below, here are eight signs that it's probably time to seek help from a higher office power.
1. Other people in the office are noticing.
Have other people in your office said something to you about this coworker and her behavior? It’s pretty normal to initially think her hostility toward you is all in your head — we second guess ourselves in the workplace a lot. But if other people are noticing and mentioning the tension to you, you know it’s not your imagination. And if other people are noticing, your boss probably is too.
2. Your team dynamic is off.
If your team’s dynamic is negatively affected by the tension between you and this coworker, it’s probably time to say something to your boss. Now, the issue isn’t just between you and her, it’s affecting the larger group, which can obviously affect your company as well. And that’s the point you should be making to your boss.
3. You dread going into work every day.
Having to deal with workplace drama isn’t ideal for anyone. And it can truly affect the way you view and feel about your job. Did you used to love your job, but now the tension with your coworker has you absolutely dreading heading into the office in the morning? Not only is the tension now affecting your relationship with this coworker, but this type of workplace negativity can begin to negatively affect your health.
4. It’s affecting your sleep.
Dreading that morning commute so much you can’t even sleep at night? That means the bad blood is becoming a serious issue. Sleep is so important and influential to both our mental and physical health, and your lack of sleep could also cause your work performance to suffer.
5. You’ve tried saying something to your coworker and it didn’t go well.
If you’ve tried to talk the issue out with your coworker one-on-one, and nothing was resolved, it’s probably time to take the issue to your boss. Some smaller issues can and should be resolved between the two of you, but if she’s not willing to compromise and put your differences aside, you’ll have to bring in a third party.
6. It continues to get worse.
Not only is she unwilling to try and resolve the issue, your friction has continued to get even worse than it used to be. This is normally a sign that it’s not going to get any better soon.
7. It’s affecting your work and productivity.
Feel like you can’t focus? Like you’re unable to concentrate fully on your work because your mind is centered around the issue with your coworker? Again, a huge sign you should take the issue to your manager. You shouldn’t let your work suffer because of coworker animosity.
8. You have enough written documentation to backup your concerns.
This is probably going to be a huge game of he said/she said, which means you should document every issue you’ve had with this coworker. You’ll want to be able to prove you aren’t the one causing the drama; you’re the one working to solve it! Also remember that she’s probably going to try to do the same thing. Having detailed notes can save you and your place in the company if your boss and potentially HR get involved.