Nicky Jolley, founder and managing director of HR2day in Darlington is calling for employers in the North East to ensure that remote working isn’t causing a ‘silent bullying culture’ in their business.
Research conducted by The Law Society for Mental Health Awareness Week found that since remote working became more prolific during 2020, incidences of bullying, harassment and dysfunctional relationships were going unnoticed by bosses.
Newer employees were less likely to feel comfortable reporting remote bullying and harassment, because they did not feel they knew their managers well enough, having not established themselves face-to-face.
Victims of bullying were also reluctant to report conversations that had happened over Zoom or Teams and were not witnessed by anyone else.
Nicky Jolley said: “Regardless of whether employees are back in the office or working remotely, organisations must have a zero-tolerance attitude towards bullying.
“Managers should make sure they’re in regular contact with all employees and take some time to discuss mental wellbeing and if they need any support.
“If businesses leave silent bullying issues unresolved, this can lead to retention and recruitment issues, as well as potential legal claims of constructive dismissal.
“If an employer has decided to continue remote working, it is essential that they consider how best to support their staff and whether they need to seek advice around how to avoid a toxic work environment.”