How To Prevent Virtual Harassment In The Workplace

How To Prevent Virtual Harassment In The Workplace 2560 1707 Balance Point Team

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, employers have been focused on workplace safety, health and wellness, and staffing. Mitigating workplace harassment may have become less of a priority, yet continues to be a problem. Many employees continue to work from home making virtual harassment tough to navigate. With less face-to-face interaction and isolation from co-workers, managers need additional training and skills to be able to spot signs of harassment in the workplace, and know what to do if harassment is suspected.

Here are some ways companies can protect their employees and prevent harassment in the workplace. 

Revise Your Harassment Policy 

Now is a good time to review and revise your current harassment policy. Due to changes in the workplace, all policies should be up to date to reflect changes that have taken place. A clear and definitive statement of what workplace harassment is should be outlined. A good remote harassment policy should include an expansive definition of what harassment is and looks like at work, not just the physical concept of harassment. 

Remote work has blurred the lines between work and personal space. Employees are seeing each other in their home environment and out of the office. Settings outside of the physical workspace should be addressed via company policy. To ensure that employees are clear about the policy in place, it should include statements around the inappropriate use of communication in the digital forum, at a workplace event or virtual event, or outside the workplace. 

What’s equally as important as having a policy in place is reviewing it, don’t just set it and then forget it. Revisiting your policy gives managers a chance to not only update the effectiveness of complaint reporting mechanisms and anti-retaliation precautions, but also review adherence to federal and state laws. 

Provide Training To Staff and Managers

Training opportunities should be provided so managers can learn how to spot signs of harassment. Prior to having remote staff, managers could have picked up on signs in the office. Virtual signs of harassment or bullying are harder to identify, especially when employees might not be forthcoming when they are dealing with this kind of issue. 

Some signs of harassment in the virtual workplace can be:

  • A sudden change of attitude in an employee
  • An employee becoming withdrawn or quiet on video conferences
  • An employee not wanting to be on camera during a video conference

Managers aren’t the only ones who should be given training. Employees should be offered the same opportunities so they are able to identify the harassment themselves, along with how to properly report the situation. 

Some people who are harassed don’t feel comfortable coming forward, especially if it’s coming from someone of higher authority in their work environment. 

Take Swift Action 

If employees feel like their complaint isn’t taken seriously, investigations never result in repercussions, and policies aren’t enforced, incidents will stop getting reported all together. 

Furthermore, the harassers will continue to do harm. Managers should take reports of harassment seriously and respond quickly and efficiently. Empower your employees to speak up and the actions of managers will demonstrate that their voices are heard. 

Although managers cannot share the details of the investigation or disciplinary actions taken, they can still communicate with the employee to let them know appropriate action was taken and an investigation is underway.

Take Action Today

A learning management system (LMS) is a convenient and cost-effective way to deploy essential harassment prevention training to your team. When considering an LMS for your organization, make sure the one you select supports state-mandated training requirements without having to build out special courses.

Schedule a consultation to learn more about Balance Point’s e-learning solution and if it’s a right fit for your workplace.

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap