Bad habits of working from home cause problems in the office

Bad habits of working from home cause problems in the office

The cat Felix may not have opposed fancy dress or a nasty smell of body odor when his owner worked from home, but lack of personal hygiene and failure to follow the basic dress code in the office does not go well in the post-pandemic workplace.

These are not the first behavioral hiccups that have emerged since business began to return to normal. Many people are short-lived as a result of what they have been through and this has led to conflicts about big things like regular workdays, unusual things like employees complaining that co-workers snore at their desks because they have been used to taking naps when working from home, and unacceptable things like unpleasant personal habits, which went unnoticed at Zoom, were brought into the office.

But while there may be a “get over it” element in some of the redesign, there are also cases of more serious flaws in the office etiquette. These include inappropriate behavior and comments directed at colleagues that have increased since jobs reopened.

“Inquiries about sexual harassment allegations have increased by 50 percent, which we believe is linked to employees returning to location-based environments,” said Moira Grassick, chief operating officer of the HR and employment law firm Peninsula Ireland.

“Many of us have worked from home for the past two years and conducted meetings via video conferencing. This can often feel much more relaxed than being with other people in an office environment and to some extent the normal boundaries between people have been broken. Now that employees are returning in lots, there may be a need to learn about appropriate behavior in the workplace, says Grassick.

What has happened to create these inappropriate exchanges are bad habits that have been reinforced by time, in this case two years of distorted reality. In addition, people return with behaviors adopted to help them deal with Covid’s personal fallout and some of these coping strategies include mood swings, drug and alcohol dependence.

A report from Drinkaware, published in April 2022 but looking at drinking behavior in 2021, shows a significant change in alcohol consumption during the period. This includes an increase in binge drinking and 61 percent of the sample said they drank to help them cope in 2021.

The report notes, “when data from 2021 are viewed in conjunction with 2020 data, it reveals what behaviors were formed in the initial lockdown that have turned into established patterns of new rituals against alcohol. Most worrying is the increase in hot consumption, especially among men and young adults. aged 18 to 24. Specific cohorts in the Irish adult population report higher alcohol consumption patterns, namely households with young children and men.

“Low mental well-being is a worrying problem identified for over half of the young adult cohort and families with teenagers.”

What becomes very clear is that the workforce today is not the same as the one that ended two years ago. Consequently, companies need to ensure that their staff support programs are up to zero, while line managers may need training after the pandemic to reinforce the importance of continuing to check in with their teams and pay more attention to tensions simmering beneath the surface.

Grassick says that now is also a good time to remind employees of workplace policies and that organizations need to address any serious issues that may have arisen during the shutdown. “It is important to ensure that employees have been adequately informed about dignity and respect in the workplace and know what behaviors are and are not acceptable without ambiguity. Especially when it comes to social events in the workplace and corporate meetings, caution must be exercised regarding risks. she says.

“If an employee comes to you to try to solve a problem informally, it is important to be open about it, but they may also feel the need to raise a formal complaint if circumstances require it,” Grassick adds. “A formal complaint will require the complaint to be submitted in writing, which can be traumatic for those involved, so it is important to provide proper support to all parties. treated with immediate action in the form of a process and structure to investigate the complaint fully and correctly. “

As an HR consulting company, Peninsula is familiar with some of the more challenging situations that companies have faced when it comes to dealing with bad behavior. These include the exchange of sexually explicit images between employees on work accounts, physical violence between workers, dealing with cohabiting employees where domestic violence occurs, employees who steal equipment and sell it online, employees who deliver drugs on the side and employees who constantly disappeared on the company time to practice the Jerusalem dance.

Grassick says that apart from bad behavior, it is one of the other most pressing issues for the cost of living of employees, and although companies want to help, many do not have the resources to finance wage increases.

“We have not had so many questions about salary benchmarking. Instead, we see companies looking for alternative ways to help employees make money go together. For example, collaborating with local companies to get discounts for employees. In fact, we have a service called Bright Exchange which is a closed marketplace for our customers that aims to help companies that have struggled during the pandemic with free marketing support and discounts and benefits for their employees. ”

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