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Is Employee Behaviour Changing Due To Home Working?

15 February 2021

As some employees are becoming more used to working at home, are workplace behavioural norms becoming diluted and a distant memory?

With employees working from home, there is a concerning growing trend we have been encountering some clients experiencing changes in behavioural norms and what can only be described as ‘naughty’ behaviour.

home working

We have read about this in the media too with instances of inappropriate or poor behaviour on Zoom, including employees being videoed in the bathroom, having sex or pets behaving badly in the background. We have also seen an increase in enquiries from clients relating to employees breaching data and cyber security practices by either downloading inappropriate material onto work laptops or emailing confidential information to their personal account.

It’s more challenging to ensure that workplace norms are still being adhered to when no-one is physically in the room with the employee. Managers play an important role in role modelling and they may not be skilled in nipping things in the bud as and when issues occur. It’s important to replicate the workplace norms at home as far as you can. Employees should be clear that they remain subject to the same rules as if they are working in the office.

What can employers do?

Firstly, set out your expectations. Talk to and train employees on how to use and behave on Zoom or Microsoft Teams calls. Perhaps set out a ‘How to use….’ guide which will give you an opportunity to talk about backdrops, interruptions, and behaviours expected. It’s worth reminding staff what’s not acceptable too.

Remind employees of the rules associated with using business equipment, whether at home or in the workplace. This is tricky, particularly for staff whose personal computers may be being used by children home-schooling, or a partner working from home. The temptation to view business information as personal because it’s in their home is there and therefore there is a higher risk that data security could be compromised. Some data protection training, evening a brief refresher, would help protect your business too.

Make a conscious effort to stay in touch. Set times in the day to talk to employees, but also drop in on them unexpectedly, as you would when walking past their desk at work, offer support and chat about more than just about tasks which need to be done. It all takes more effort to get in touch remotely but it will help with maintaining the behavioural norms you want to see and having a more productive team. However, social media platforms allow for live meet up rooms (e.g. Houseparty or Facebook) which can enable you to create the impression of working next to each other.

Can Loch Associates Group help?

If you need help managing or keeping in touch with your employees, our HR Consultants from Loch HR can step in and help you. We also provide tailored training for managers to resolve issues or problems managing staff, including our Nip it in the Bud training and Data Protection Training.

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