John Highfield

Member Article

Brewster Partners join the fight against workplace cyberbullying

A NEW survey by Sheffield recruitment specialist Brewster Partners has discovered a shocking rise in the number of people experiencing workplace cyberbullying.

The problem of cyberbullying has long been associated with the intentional online abuse of young people and children.

But an informal survey carried out by Brewster Partners among its clients has revealed the extent to which the problem is now increasingly embedded into the adult workplace.

And more than 90 per cent of those question admitted that the rising instances of online abuse were having a major impact on workplace morale, productivity and employee wellbeing.

“An overwhelming 77 per cent of those we spoke to believe that cyber bullying in the workplace is on the increase,” said Brewster Partners Chief Executive Nigel Brewster.

“In addition 23 per cent of businesses we surveyed had employees who said they had to deal with some form of abuse or bullying using online or electronic communication in the previous 24 months.

“Sadly, up to 28 pert cent thought that their employees might be reluctant to report workplace cyber bullying, despite 64 per cent believing that cyber bullying in the workplace might have taken place in their organisation.

“And perhaps unsurprisingly, over 90 per cent of those surveyed who had dealt with cyber bullying in the workplace deemed it to have had a negative impact on wider morale, productivity and employee wellbeing.”

The Brewster Partners investigation discovered that workplace cyberbullying incidents ranged from the receipt of offensive emails through to individuals posting and making comments on social media sites.

Very often those responsible used false email addresses and user names in order to hide their true identity.

“More than 30 per cent of the people we questioned had deemed the bullying serious enough to warrant police intervention, though less than a half of those surveyed were aware that cyber bullying and associated online abuse could potentially be a criminal offence,” said Nigel.

“However, of those who were aware and had reported the abuse, over 80 per cent were pleased with the response and actions of their local police force.

Nigel added that the continued and growing presence of electronic communication in business lives meant that incidents of cyberbullying and abuse would continue.

“We are supporting the growing number of not-for-profit organisations championing activity to call out and stamp out cyber bullying,” he said.

“They are asking everybody who cares about the future of the internet and the future of our global online community to join a movement for action against online bullying and abuse while helping to create a much safer, more inclusive online environment.

“As a leading recruiter working in fields as varied as accountancy and finance, office support, charity and not-for-profit, manufacturing and operations we believe it is our responsibility to ensure that all the people we place have a workplace free of the toxicity of any form of bullying, be it in person or online.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by John Highfield .

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