TORONTO, Ont. — Chief financial officers (CFO) in Canada spend as much as half a day per week resolving staff conflicts, a recent survey reveals. The survey, which was developed by staffing firm Accountemps and conducted by an independent research firm, fielded responses from more than 270 CFOs from a stratified random sample of companies across Canada. According to the survey, one-fifth of executives are sidetracked from their work by spending, on average, 10 to 14 per cent of their time or approximately four hours a week managing staff conflicts, and 14 per cent devote 15 to 24 per cent of their time on such resolutions. “Conflicts and differences of opinion in the office are bound to happen, especially when employees are passionate about their work,” said Dianne Hunnam-Jones, Canadian president of Accountemps. “However, these issues shouldn’t take managers away from high-priority business concerns or prevent them from doing their jobs effectively.” Some of the ways to foster a more harmonious workplace include encouraging workers to approach colleagues’ opinions with respect and communicating disagreements as they arise, so that solutions can be found before the issue escalates or impedes productivity, Hunnam-Jones advised. Other avenues to handle work conflicts with grace include showing empathy, handling work-related disagreements promptly, bringing in a third party like a human-resources manager to mediate if no resolution is in sight and letting the matter rest by not holding a grudge.