It’s been a busy couple of months at Consensio, and that’s one of my excuses as to why we haven’t written on our blog. I’m just so busy. In fact, these words are uttered often – to my friends when they ask how I am, or to my Mum who calls me in the middle of my working day. And I don’t think I’m alone. When a traffic light turns green, it takes a millisecond for the horns to start beeping when the first car doesn’t move immediately. Standing in line for a coffee, customers wait impatiently to be served, most staring at their mobile phones.
Even in workplace mediation, that sacrosanct place for people to connect, I facilitated a recent team mediation where the parties used their tablets or phones throughout the day. My co-mediator and I questioned whether we should say something about it. Was it getting in the way of their ability to listen and talk with each other?
In this particular mediation, we decided against asking the mediation parties to put away their gadgets. The genie was already out of the bottle, and the nature of their working environment meant that it was important for them to be connected outside of the mediation room. But this begs a wider question: When we are so busy, when we are tired and stressed and constantly checking email and text, are we not creating a ripe environment for conflict to fester? In future, I will keep mediation as a safe space where parties have time to talk to each other face-to-face, without the distractions of modern technology. Though there will still be time to check our phones during the break!