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Cyberbullying widespread in the workplace

Cyberbullying in the workplace has become a serious issue, with companies needing to address this risk through greater awareness and effective employee inductions.

In fact a study from the University of Nottingham* has found that employees experience a rate of online bullying which is similar to that seen in traditional bullying. In fact, between 14 and 20 per cent of respondents experienced bullying at least once a week. What’s more, roughly 80 per cent of respondents experienced cyberbullying at work within the last 12 months.

For employers, there is a worrying impact from cyberbullying on productivity. Victims reported higher mental strain and also lower wellbeing as a result of harassment online.

This isn’t the only study to come out in recent weeks addressing the issue of cyberbullying. A study from Pew Research** found that individuals who spend a lot of time online, and have a large amount of information available about them, report an increased risk of cyberbullying. Nearly 3,000 individuals were surveyed, with 44 per cent of men and 37 per cent of women experiencing online harassment at some point.

Among those who have experienced this harassment, the majority (60 per cent) took no action and only 40 per cent attempted to address this activity.

The figures on who was performing this harassment were also markedly different, with 26 per cent unaware of the identity of the bully and 38 per cent reporting that a stranger was responsible.

These studies highlight the importance of considering cyberbullying as part of a company’s anti-bullying efforts. To help with this, WorkPro offers a comprehensive induction process that can be used to address the different forms of bullying that can occur in the workplace.

By incorporating thorough work health and safety training into your organisation, businesses can take concrete steps towards reducing the incident rate of cyberbullying.

*University of Nottingham ‘Punched from the Screen’, released November 2014.

**Pew Research, Online Harassment Survey, released October 22 2014.

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