The Spread of Corona Virus and Impact on Mediation
The spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) has changed our daily lives dramatically. The world has not encountered a pandemic of this nature since 1918, where people were forced to stay in isolation.
Although most of us are clinging to the hope that it is temporary and soon we will be back to our normal lifestyles, no one is sure about the timeline. Scientists around the globe are trying their best to find solutions and vaccines, but in the meantime, life goes on. We have to adapt to this new way of life. The operations around the globe cannot be paused for an indefinite time, and so we must find a way to live in this new reality.
Normally, mediators are hired for situations to resolve conflicts, carry out negotiations, reach to a viable and feasible solution, and most require a face-to-face meeting. Now that we are practicing social distancing, most of the office and consultancies are either closed or working remotely, it is getting difficult to access mediators. Initially, online mediation took place only for a few matters, including e-commerce conflicts, transactional issues, etc. However, because of social isolation caused by Coronavirus, the demand for online mediation has risen sharply.
Importance of Online Mediation:
As the internet has evolved and expanded, it has greatly affected our lifestyle and modes of communication, making it easier for cross-country trading and interactions. As the world progresses, several e-commerce platforms and Internet Marketing Services providers provide an opportunity for people to connect easily without any disturbance or delay.
Online platforms have surfaced to make ease and convenience for people to interact, communicate, and resolve issues and any potential conflicts that may arise between the given parties. There are several advantages that you can avail, based on the concept of online mediation:
Although textual conversations lack tone and body language that is present in physical interactions, online mediation fully provides freedom of expression. Too often, body language and gestures play an important part while resolving conflict, and the parties may take anything to trigger their emotions, however nonverbal communication forces people to only focus on the content rather than the expressions and gestures.
- Intimidation from confrontation
Too often, while resolving a conflict, one of the party turns out to be more dominating through their gestures or because of better communication skills. Due to these reasons, one party may shy away from putting their opinion on the table. This is another benefit of online mediation; no one has to feel intimidated by the other party as all the communication is carried out using non-verbal communication, and no party can over-power the other. This way, a better and fair chance is given to both the parties to focus on conflict resolution.
- Preservation of Anonymity
Online mediation provides the mediator an opportunity to stay anonymous. If the mediator hasn't met any of the parties in person, then he can stay anonymous, which helps bias caused by socioeconomic factors like age, race, ethnicity, etc. Online mediation preserves identities and confidentialities and is suitable for a lot of people to avoid any bias and discrimination.
Spike in Demand of Online Mediation due to Corona Virus
Because of Coronavirus, social distancing has become a mandatory practice around the globe. People are required to follow certain guidelines, including:
- No physical contact
- Cleaning surfaces after every 2-3 hours
- Avoiding touching of nose, eyes or face
- Wearing a face-mask while interacting with any person
- Washing hands for 20 seconds
While practicing social distancing, it has become difficult for people to arrange mediation. Several issues are taking place on an everyday basis, and due to social distancing, it is getting difficult for people to physically interact with people. Following are some of the reasons people are finding it hard to arrange mediators and hence require online mediation:
- Difficulty in interaction
Due to the guidelines provided by the World Health Organization, it is difficult to interact with people and meet them face-to-face. It is advised that people stay indoors and do not interact with an outsider. Moreover, it can also be a certainty that one of the two parties is present at a hotspot of the virus, and hence interaction is nearly impossible.
- Stress and anxiety
Many people are finding it hard to adjust to this new life of social isolation. Self-isolation and the threat of impending death are causing a historic increase in stress and anxiety worldwide. The main cause of their stress is:
- The Coronavirus – people are worried that they or their loved ones will catch and die of the disease.
- Economic and Financial strains – A large chunk of the population has been unemployed because of Coronavirus. Businesses are on lockdown, and they are forced to fire their employees or send them on unpaid leaves. Similarly, daily wage workers have been out of commission for more than 2 months in most countries as people are reluctant to hire any strange lest they contract the disease. The inability to provide for their family, buy food, pay rent, pay school bills, and health bills, etc. is playing a big part in deteriorating mental health worldwide.
- Feeling alone – many people are missing the social bond they enjoyed with their friends and family. They are feeling alone and helpless, which is increasing mental unrest.
- Existential crisis –every day, we hear about more deaths from Coronavirus. While good things are also happening, its human nature to focus on the negative. People are in a state of panic, and they believe this may be the end of the world as we know it.
Now that the public transports and airspaces are halted, commute to places is almost zero. Due to this reason, it is hard to reach out to people or an organization in person to sort a conflict.
Online mediation provides flexibility and ease in terms of matching schedules as no one has to step out and travel anywhere. Rather all the parties can decide a mutual time to interact online or can contact via emails according to their own ease and convenience.
- Geographical constraints
For people who are living in different states, cities, or countries, it gets difficult to travel and reach people living elsewhere. Online mediation solves these problems of geographically dispersed people or organizations and provides them the ease to stay at home and get their issues resolved.