A recent survey conducted by academics from the University of Sheffield and Nottingham University, Punched from the screen: workplace cyber-bullying, highlights the on-going importance of this aspect of workplace behaviour.
The variety of ways which workers can experience inappropriate behaviour was also highlighted during interviews carried out for the Opt for learning training resource, Recognising and resolving inappropriate workplace behaviour:
“He was always very nice when he came into the office, and then he sat down at his desk and sent numerous emails, complaining, criticising. The tone of the emails was always heavy handed and demoralising.”
“He sent a load of emails to a wide range of people, outside the department, outside the company, criticising me. One was even slanderous.”
“It started off with this woman receiving weight watchers’ literature anonymously and escalated to her being inundated with pictures of pigs.”
“He thought it was acceptable to send slightly lewd texts and leave slightly lewd messages, always with an edge of humour.”
Social media, smartphones and online activities have increased the ways workers can experience inappropriate workplace behaviour and present a real risk to business in terms of potential claims of harassment and a poor working environment.
The implementation of policies to demonstrate what behaviour is appropriate in your workplace, developed with employee involvement and awareness training, will reduce the potential for claims of unfairness and help to create a working environment that is healthy and productive.