The escalation of homeworking has led to a rapid increase in digital communication between employees.
Channels such as Whats App, Slack, Teams and Zoom offer valuable opportunities to maintain contact and morale at a time when people are isolated, but they also carry a risk that communications can easily “cross the line”, particularly when they have previously been used more for interaction in a social context.
What one employee judges to be “harmless banter”: another employee may perceive as inappropriate or even offensive, leading to potential claims of unlawful harassment or discrimination.
How can Employers avoid such problems?
- Ensure that employees feel able to speak up if they think boundaries have been crossed, before it becomes a serious issue.
- Review your IT policy to ensure it covers communication via digital channels and provides examples of what is not acceptable. Re-issue this to all staff.
- Carry out training for all employees regarding the use of digital communications in the workplace.
- Act when you see examples of communication which “crosses the line”, addressing it with the employee concerned and keeping a record of any action taken.
These are just a few tips on how to keep your employees safe. If you would like to find out more about what to do when banter in the office goes too far, please get in touch by calling 01942 727 200 or emailing email@example.com