This year has seen a shift in working practices and culture, whereby many organisations have suddenly had large numbers of staff working from home. This has resulted in changes to processes such as monitoring output and performance, monitoring working hours and time, and being able to see what hours and work staff were undertaking.
For many staff, COVID has led to increased anxiety around job security. This has had a dual affect – some staff have worked harder, doing extra hours and desperately trying to prove their worth to avoid redundancy. Other staff have become fearful about their job security, hiding mistakes and not wanting to highlight any performance issues to try to keep bosses happy.
Glassdoor carried out a survey of over 1000 workers earlier this year, which found that 49% of employees admitted to lying at work. Of these 44% said they did so to avoid getting into trouble, whilst 34% lied to hide mistakes.
Further questioning found that the driving force for the employees who lied did so to avoid “standing out” in the office. 40% said they did so as it was easier to agree with what the majority were doing, while 24% said they lied to avoid having to speak up to their boss or colleagues.
These figures cause big concern for both employers and employees. Employers need to be able to trust their staff and have confidence that they display integrity and honesty. This has never been more so than this year, where suddenly staff have to juggle remote working for roles where this has perhaps been deemed impossible.
Equally for employees, Covid has had massive effects on perceptions of job security, as well as the marked increase in mental health conditions. For these staff to feel that they have to lie about mistakes, on top of mounting fears around job security can lead to them feeling that it is easier to hide something minor than face the consequences of being honest.
Further concerning figures from the survey found that 39% of staff felt lying was commonplace where they worked, with 22% feeling that small lies are acceptable.
What can Employers do to Address this?
It is essential that employers look at their own culture – a no blame culture, where employees can work confidently without fear of repercussions is a much healthier and more productive way for staff to be working. Open dialogue needs to take place between staff and managers, with constructive and useful feedback provided to aid and support development.
Goals need to be clear and unambiguous – if employees understand exactly what is expected of them, they are more likely to know where their focus should be and organise their time effectively.
Finally, employers should be mindful that for the foreseeable future flexibility is likely to remain at the forefront of everyone’s mind. There is an increasing risk of further lockdowns, isolation periods, school closures and other requests for flexibility – which need to be underpinned by mutual trust and confidence that the same standards and levels of honesty are demonstrated from both sides – employer and employee.
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