It is well known that many organisations have been forced to adapt their business strategy to mitigate financial risk and ensure business continuity in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Leaders are constantly confronted with urgent and competing demands as they try to navigate the rapidly evolving business landscape.
Arguably the most fundamental change that has arisen from the pandemic has been the way we interact and communicate with each other as a large portion of the workforce transitioned to working remotely. Whilst many of us welcome the benefits of working from home such as better work life balance, less commute stress and positive environmental impact, key workplace issues such as misconduct and grievances remain very prevalent albeit in a new form.
Employment uncertainty, lack of oversight from management and the psychological effects of working in isolation can create an environment that increases the risk of employees engaging in misconduct. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Your Call has seen an increase in reports pertaining to a wide range of issues including but not limited to:
- Time theft due to the employee feeling disengaged from the workplace.
- Employees running secondary employment during the course of full-time work or diverting company work resources for their personal use.
- Online harassment and bullying behaviour during business hours using company resources.
Taking proactive steps to identify risks for potential misconduct to occur goes a long way in ensuring early detection and prevention of misconduct. Leaders can reduce the occurrence of these issues through the adoption of a range of proactive steps:
- Encouraging constant communication. Check in with staff and providing regular updates on key developments and changes within the workplace. This builds confidence in the leadership team and keeps everyone aligned to the same strategic goal. This is particularly important during uncertain times when staff look to leadership for guidance and stability.
- Setting clear expectations is a critical component in building trusting relationships and provides a reference point of what is acceptable workplace behaviour and performance. Consider updating workplace policies and procedures if required and providing training so staff have a clear understanding of what the policies are and how they should be followed.
- Identify and address security risks that present from working across many variable locations. These include things like insecure internet connections, other residents in the home who may be exposed to confidential conversations or documentation, and poor personal device security protocols to name a few. Provide clear guidelines for these scenarios and develop policies and procedures for password management, accessing and protecting confidential documents.