The boom of remote mediation during the COVID-19 pandemic and what the future holds
Remote Mediation during the COVID-19 pandemic and what the future holds?
As we edge closer to a post-COVID world, mediators are embracing remote mediation as the new norm. After all, the traditional method of face-to-face mediation is not always feasible.
Remote mediation provides for a more effective solution by opening mediation to a larger audience and most importantly, generating significant cost saving for all involved during an emotional and difficult time. In circumstances where a Protection Order is in place, remote mediation fosters a safe environment for parties to work towards resolving matters in dispute.
As families continue to be separated as a result of prolonged boarder closures or simply physical distance, remote mediation enables mediations to take place where parties are based in different parts of the world, or just in different states in the same country as we have become familiar with in Australia.
Why is Remote Mediation important?
Often, being in different parts of the world means the parties will be in completely different time zones. In this instance, remote mediation offers parties the flexibility to participate in a series of short sessions instead of a long single mediation session.
The flexibility in terms of time and location alleviates some of the pressure associated with traditional mediations, thereby encouraging a more organic conversation between the parties. By providing an ease of accessibility and flexibility, remote mediation also reduces delays and enables parties to reach a resolution sooner.
Unsurprisingly, face-to-face mediation can be costly. The additional costs usually stem from room hire, travel expenses and travel time incurred. Remote mediation offers the luxury of mediating from home or at a beneficial location, meaning these costs are avoided entirely. Instead of watching the clock at 5:00pm wondering if you will make the train, parties will be comfortable and focused until a settlement is reached.
The savings in travel costs are complemented by the savings in electronic bundles. Before mediation even begins, documents need to be exchanged with the mediator and other parties. Let’s remind ourselves about the length of legal documents. Printing lengthy documents only adds another expense for the client. By moving to electronic bundles, parties are saving money and all of the appropriate documents are available to review and refer to at any point during the process.
Resolving conflict can be particularly difficult in circumstances where a Protection Order is in place. If one party feels empowered to be more dominating and intimidating, the mediation will almost certainly derail without a fair outcome. By separating parties virtually, remote mediation eliminates the stress and fear associated with face-to-face discussions. There is also no possibility of parties running into each other during scheduled breaks in communal areas of the building, such as the cafeteria, lifts or bathrooms.
How do mediators feel about remote mediation?
Remarkably, over 80% of online mediators describe their experience as positive. Online mediators have also reported an 81% improvement in access to participants, an 80% improvement in time efficiency and a 72% improvement in cost efficiency. Parties can have peace of mind in knowing that remote mediation has not sparked a noticeable change in settlement rates. From a mediator’s perspective, parties often appear more relaxed, engaged and safe during remote mediations.
At Noble & Noble Mediations, we recognize the importance of evolving with technology for our clients. Remote mediation is an option that produces timely, cost effective and safe outcomes. The flexibility afforded to all parties of remote meditation encourages issues to be resolved without recourse to litigation. If you need assistance, please feel free to contact our qualified mediators at any time.
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