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Remote work situations can complicate business leaders’ efforts to encourage employees to report workplace problems like cyberbullying, harassment, personnel conflicts, or excessive workloads that affect morale and drag down a company’s overall productivity.

This was reflected in a recent survey by Elements Global Services, reported in HR Dive, that showed two-thirds of workers are skirting their HR departments because they do not think their complaints will be resolved. Half said they feared retaliation for reporting wrongdoing to HR.

With the rise of the #MeToo movement in recent years, human resource experts have been urging employers to strengthen complaint procedures and change the office culture in ways that encourage employees to report wrongdoing. Open-door policies and getting company leaders out of their offices to be more “visible and present” to the workforce were suggested strategies for making workers less fearful about reporting issues to HR.

Remote working complicates these strategies, but it does not give HR a pass, writes HR Dive editor Katie Clarey. In remote work and hybrid workplaces, HR departments should be focused on responding to problems more quickly than ever, she said.

“Virtual work can lead to pervasive problems with cyberbullying and misconduct brought on by a less formal work environment,” Clarey said. Complaints of such behavior require HR departments to investigate quickly and respond appropriately, she said.

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