How to Navigate Harassment in a Hybrid Workplace

People wearing masks working in an open-plan office

As more workplaces navigate a return to the office, media outlets have highlighted the rise of hybrid workplaces, with employees scattered across central offices and remote environments.

These types of work setups present new challenges and require organizations to take a nimble approach that accounts for sexual misconduct, harassment, and abuse in both in-person and virtual settings. Here are some key tips that can help employers build policies that create equitable, safe, and respectful environments:

• Think outside the office walls. Harassment doesn’t just occur in physical offices. Building workplace policies that specifically acknowledge virtual harassment – and that it will be treated as seriously as in-person harassment – is an important first step.

• Ensure open lines of communications. To keep the virtual workforce from falling behind the in-person workforce in terms of their safety and vulnerability, share regular company-wide reminders about how to report misconduct. Even better is sharing information or setting meetings specifically addressed to remote workers emphasizing that they are a priority and should seek help through the proper channels if they are in need.  

• Optimize training for hybrid settings. If your workforce remains a mix of in-person and remote employees, ensure bystander training and other sessions on harassment are accessible to all – this means presentations that can be shared on screens, and planning for virtual breakout rooms on a video conferencing service if you want to incorporate group work into the training.  

To learn more about navigating the new world of work, check out this recent report co-authored by RALIANCE, which addresses principles and practices for addressing harassment.

RALIANCE provides consulting, assessment, and employee development services to help build more equitable workplace cultures and create environments free from sexual harassment, misconduct and abuse. We stand ready to support your organization’s goals – contact us today at [email protected] to get started.

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