26 October 2014
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Problems at work

Grievances and problems at work can arise for many different reasons. Whatever the causes these problems can interfere with a persons ability to work effectively and can also affect the quality of their working day and even their personal life.

The key point is to nip problems in the bud and stop them from escalating. The best way to do this is by acting quickly and not procrastinating, the quicker you act the more likely the issue will be resolved without escalating it.

Resolving problems at work
Initially identify what the actual problem is. For instance do you feel you are being picked on because of the quality of your work or because you are persistently late etc.

After identifying the problem then as a first instance employees should always try to resolve problems by speaking to their supervisors or union representatives. Use these meetings as a attempt to clear the air and work things out by drawing up a plan of action that everyone agrees upon.

Ask for and have informal talks with your managers and then explain your grievance. If for some reason you do not feel you are able to do this then ask a union representative or work colleague to speak on your behalf. Often many minor disputes are simply misunderstandings and can be sorted out quickly.

One reason to try to resolve issues informally is that if the problem escalates you can always say that you have tried all other possible means and they haven’t worked.

Dealing with problems at work:

  • Note down the time location of any incident that you have a grievance about.
  • Clearly write down what objective and outcome you want.
  • Confidentially speak to any colleagues who can act as witnesses or who will support you.
  • If talking to your immediate supervisors informally does not work then you will have to raise the stakes.
  • Speak to work colleagues and seek if any of them agree with your point of view, and will support you.
  • Spend time gathering all of the facts and preparing what you will say to senior managers.
  • Go to senior managers and ask for a meeting, at the meeting explain to them that you have exhausted all other ways of trying to resolve the problem and feel you have no option but to escalate it.
  • Always take notes and write down who you spoke to and what was said.
  • If your Union gets involved then take their guidance. Do not attend meetings or make comments to anyone before speaking to them.

Reasons for problems at work:

  • Absence from work due to ill health.
  • Misunderstandings.
  • Perceived or actual poor performance at work.
  • Personal conflicts or bad relationships with supervisors or work colleagues.
  • Bullying.
  • Being the target of office gossip.
  • Harassment.
  • Disciplinary issues.


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Related topics:

Dealing with prejudice in job applications

Dealing with workplace stress

Discrimination in the workplace

Explaining career gaps


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