Fights over money have caused friendships to sour, family members to stop speaking to each other, and marriages to break up. When conflicts over money enter into the workplace, it can cause rifts between co-workers and resentment between bosses and employees.
For a harmonious work environment, watch out for these common finance issues that cause discord in the office.
Co-Signing a Business Loan
Whether starting a new business or expanding an existing one, asking a business partner or outside investor to co-sign a business loan can lead to problems. If both parties aren’t clear about expectations and goals before signing the loan, it could cause future arguments about how the loan money is used. Tensions can increase if there’s no repayment plan in place, and if the situation is not resolved, the co-signer may even take the case to court.
What a company spends its money on not only reflects its values but can also be a point of contention.
If investors feel that a business is not spending its money wisely, it can lead to arguments about the use of contributions and even cause financiers to reduce or withdraw their funding. If employees feel that their company isn’t fairly compensating them for their work or providing them the resources they need to be successful, it can cause feelings of ill will and even cause employees to leave the company.
It’s considered bad etiquette to ask someone about his salary, and this is even truer in the workplace. Wages are one of the most common causes of conflict between co-workers and employers; issues typically arise when an employee feels that they should be making more money, a co-worker is being compensated too much for the amount of work that they are doing, or the boss is taking too much for himself.
Disagreements in the office can intensify when employers give promotions or hand out bonuses to some employees and not others.
Workplace holiday parties and social events are supposed to increase employee morale, but finding funding for these occasions can cause issues. Arguments arise when co-workers are asked to contribute for social gatherings that they might not be able to attend or perceive that not everyone is paying their fair share. Pitching in to purchase a card, bouquet, or gift for every employee birthday or illness is costly, and employees in tight financial situations may feel pressured or bullied by co-workers to pay up.
Businesses often donate money to charities or social foundations in order to boost their reputation, but if employees or customers don’t agree with the cause, these donations can have negative consequences. This is especially true if employees were not told about the decision to donate or were not given the choice to opt out.
Similarly, soliciting donations within the workplace can also cause tensions between co-workers, especially when it seems like everyone’s child is participating in a fundraiser for school. It’s hard to turn down a co-worker who is raising money for a charity, and it can cause issues when requests for donations disrupt the work environment, lead to heated discussions about social values, or create hostility when a donation isn’t given. As a result, many companies have gone so far as to ban fundraising in the office.
If you find yourself involved in a dispute at work, make sure that you are proactive and handle issues quickly and in a professional manner. Discuss any problems with a co-worker in a neutral environment or ask a third party to get involved in order to mediate your conversation. Or, if you would like to express your concerns anonymously, speak with a representative from your human resources department or your trade union who can voice your opinion for you. Finally, if the conflict can’t be resolved, it may be time to consider a new place of employment.
Stephanie Marbukh is a freelance blogger who writes about a range of topics including business solutions, saving money, and Internet news.