Preventing Harassment in the Remote Workplace

by Peyton Spychalski

Are not safe for work discussions happening in your digital workspace? In your organization you may have experienced the effects of this on a multitude of levels. Workplace harassment creates legal and compliance risks, and jeopardizes employee safety. 

Appropriately handling online harassment in the workplace is critical. Conversations that would once have happened in person have shifted to multiple online forms. They occur in video, chat, or even text function. Remote environments invite the possibility for more cases of harassment to take place. 

This raises the question, do you truly know what goes on in your organization if you’re not in those conversations? With so many potential outlets for harmful communication, how do you control the chaos? 

Almost a quarter of US workers say they believe that remote environments may increase or worsen workplace harassment. The hard truth is that workplace dynamics shifted with remote work. It changed the way we communicate with each other and meet day-to-day. How has this shift truly impacted your organization? 

Unregulated Collaboration Can Introduce Risk 

Various companies have seen their toxic culture exposed to the public. These cases show how toxicity can accelerate if proper safeguards are not in place. Often, the company is unaware of what conversations occur on their collaboration platforms. 

An even scarier fact is that 75% of sexual harassment cases in the workplace go unreported. The remote shift decreased the bystander effect, removed witnesses, and allowed employees to brush over instances of harassment. In return, employees may leave organizations or decrease in engagement and productivity. But how can leaders put correct policies in place if they’re unaware of the problems in their digital workplace? 

Today we see a shift in the power dynamic at organizations. A contributing factor is the disinhibition effect. This means that when online in Slack, Teams, or Workplace from Meta, some individuals may act out more intensely than they would in person. As a leader of distributed teams, you don’t want other factors interfering with their ability to succeed. Factors such as workplace toxicity or the varying levels of safety employees are experiencing. 

Take Charge of Your Digital Workplace 

Implementing effective policies comes from understanding your organization as a whole. That includes being aware of direct message Slack threads or private channels. Safeguarding your organization comes from having a deeper understanding of the collaboration environment. This is the difference between enabling productivity and becoming the next headline about workplace harassment. Your information security and technology teams can enable the proper assessments of your team’s collaboration. In return this reduces the ripple effect of legal responsibility and employee turnover. 

Download the report on Six Critical Digital Workplace Security Risks to discover more about the severity of workplace harassment within collaboration ecosystems and how Aware can help safeguard your digital workplace.

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Topics:CultureContent ModerationEnterprise Collaboration