Cyber bullying is a big issue, and not just within schools, families or friendship circles – it happens in the workplace, too.
Safeworkers.co.uk gives several examples of how cyber bullying at work might manifest itself, including:
1. Offensive Email
2. Email Threats
3. Posts and Comments on Social Media Networks
4. Spreading Gossip Via Company Messaging/Chat
If somebody reports that they are the victim of cyber bullying, or social media bullying in the workplace, then you should address the issue – bullying in any form can be devastating to your employees’ wellbeing, and can seriously impact the working environment.
How to Deal with Cyber Bullying
According to CIPD, cyber bullying has become as common as traditional “face-to-face” bullying, but it can be more difficult to handle. They give some great advice which should help you out:
– Be Proactive. Deal with issues of cyber bullying as proactively as you would with a case of face-to-face bullying. They can both be as damaging as each other, so it is important to intervene quickly.
– Implement a Social Media Policy. Outlining how you expect employees to use (or not use) social media at work may help to reduce cyber bullying issues that take place on such platforms.
– Implement a General Anti-Bullying Policy. This might sound obvious, but a lot of companies do not have any rules or guidelines set out to deal with bullying. If you have one already, make sure you cover the issue of cyber bullying to show your employees that you take this just as seriously as face-to-face bullying.
– Deal With Cases Firmly. Again, cyber bullying can be as damaging as face-to-face bullying. You shouldn’t give cases of cyber bullying more leeway because they are less obvious than cases of face-to-face bullying – depending on what has happened, it is not unheard of for cyber bullies at work to be dismissed as a result.
The key message given by the CIPD article is to apply the same “real world” rules to the rules that apply on digital platforms – if you wouldn’t stand for an employee shouting nasty things to a colleague over the cubicle wall, then you shouldn’t stand for an employee posting nasty comments or sending nasty emails.
What to Do if You are a Victim of Cyber Bullying at Work
If you are experiencing cyber bullying at work, you should seek help, starting by reporting it to the appropriate person within your company. Just because the bullying is taking place online doesn’t make it any less serious than other kinds of bullying!
According to cyberbullying.org, more adults than adolescents report instances of cyber bullying – which goes to prove that it isn’t just in the playground where it happens! You can visit their dedicated page for more advice: Advice for Adult Victims of Cyberbullying