Over the past several months, living rooms have replaced cubicles and weekly meetings have turned into video conferences. For many of us, work-from-home life has replaced the office environment. However, many issues from the workplace—such as workplace and sexual harassment—have moved remote as well. Let’s explore four types of remote workplace harassment that you may not have recognized as harassment.
1. Excessive chat messages
Many workers have moved to business chat as a way to socialize with colleagues when there’s no water cooler. However, pinging your coworker too many times can be distracting and can potentially be harassment. If a colleague’s response to personal chats is short, or if they don’t respond at all, then it’s best to keep the chat for professional use.
2. Unprofessional language
While it may not seem like much in an office setting, profanity in a work-from-home environment can be rude and seen as a form of harassment—especially for coworkers with children or who are sharing a home office space. Keep the language respectful.
3. Requesting one-on-one video calls
We understand that personal meetings are commonplace and necessary in a professional environment for various reasons. However, constantly asking a colleague for a non-work related video call—especially someone in a lower position—can be a form of harassment. Make sure the purpose of the call is professional before sending that Zoom link.
4. Being left out of conversations
Sometimes the team chat quiets down quickly after a topic is discussed. However, ignoring someone’s input in a chat or Zoom call is a micro-inequity and can be considered harassment. Keep this in mind especially when strategizing with BIPOC colleagues to help strengthen anti-racism in the workplace.
The work environment may have changed, but workplace harassment can still exist beyond our office walls. It’s important to take steps to recognize hurtful behavior. By remaining mindful of our actions and respecting others’ boundaries, we can maintain company diversity, equity, and inclusion even while working apart. Read more about our work-from-home harassment and inclusion training here.
Karine Bah Tahé, Blue Level Founder and CEO