Office interaction As HR and benefits professionals prepare for the evolving challenges of the workplace in 2022, addressing and preventing all forms of harassment should be part of any strategy. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Amid a global pandemic and the Great Resignation, creating a safe and healthy work environment has never been more important. Along with offering flexible work options, employee assistance programs, wellness benefits and other perks, a strong harassment prevention program should be top of mind. Whether employees are returning to the workplace full-time or remaining in a remote/hybrid model, providing a work environment that is free of harassment can help organizations compete for and retain talent, improve diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), foster a sense of belonging and psychological safety — and avoid costly claims.

Unfortunately, workplace harassment remains a pervasive problem. A recent survey of full-time US employees found that 44% have experienced harassment in their workplace, with 34% reporting they left a job in the past because of harassment issues. The virtual workplace isn’t immune — nearly 38% of the respondents said they have experienced harassment through email, video conferencing, chat apps or by phone. Further, 24% believe that harassment continues or worsens through these remote channels.

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