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There may be downsides to hybrid working - recent study identifies 44% increase in workplace bullying allegations this year

There has been a 44% increase in UK Employment Tribunal claims that feature bullying allegations over the last year, according to recent research. Although it's easy in the context of the last few years to point the finger at increased levels of stress and pressure on workplace relationships, it's hard to avoid the fact that this has also coincided with a significant increase in hybrid working. 

Employment Tribunals saw the number of claims featuring bullying allegations rise from 581 (March 2020-March 2021) to 835 (March 2021-March 2022), and many of the allegations related to "cutting remarks" over zoom, "gossiping on messaging apps" and leaving colleagues out of remote meetings. These kinds of behaviours can easily go unnoticed by managers and can be hard to address, but the statistics show that they are causing problems within the workforce for many. 

Employers ought to be alert to these kinds of issues amongst their own staff and have appropriate, up to date policies and procedures (such as an IT policy, disciplinary policy and grievance policy) in place to deal with any inappropriate behaviour. This might mean reviewing their current policies to ensure that they have been updated since a shift to hybrid working. 

The increase could be a wake up call for many firms and shows that leadership teams have struggled to maintain healthy workplaces during the shift to hybrid working.