16/11/2020 - 14:33

Video conferencing - What legislative protocols still apply in the home?

16/11/2020 - 14:33

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Covid-19 has significantly impacted the way we work and manage our businesses and for most this has been a significant increase in the use of on-line platforms. In March 2020 there were 62 million downloads for video conferencing technology across IOS and Apple platforms, setting a new record. (Business Insider April 2020)

Covid-19 has significantly impacted the way we work and manage our businesses and for most this has been a significant increase in the use of on-line platforms. In March 2020 there were 62 million downloads for video conferencing technology across IOS and Apple platforms, setting a new record. (Business Insider April 2020)

However, while technology can provide numerous benefits, there are also risks to be considered.

With so many meetings not occurring in the actual physical workplace, you expect the unexpected.  In past months we have all experienced kids, pets, parents and partners in the background or even leaping in to interrupt meetings. Often this is initially humorous, but potential repercussions are a real concern.

There is the lack of privacy as employees find they are working remotely from various rooms of their home including the bedroom through to a recent case in the US where an employee has been the subject of a workplace investigation after putting themselves in a compromising position when assuming the video was OFF, when it wasn’t.  An added pressure the employee and the workplace do not need at this time.

In Australia, an employee was summarily dismissed after repeated warnings for swearing and yelling at his manager with the final incident occurring over the phone.  His claim for unfair dismissal was overruled by the Fair Work Commission.  It’s clear a similar issue may arise with video conferencing.

So how do we manage privacy and employment protocols in the home?

Set expectations

Create a robust code of conduct discussing what acceptable behaviors are during online work meetings, and remind staff that “working from home” means that home is the workplace. Conducting thorough training with staff to ensure they understand expectations will mitigate this risk.

Know the platform

Managers and Directors should also ensure they fully understand potential software before deciding to implement it as there are a variety of tools on the market, each with differing privacy capabilities and features.

Understand Privacy Act implications

Recording any material is covered by privacy laws, and video conferencing, even for your staff is no different. You may find some software automatically records all calls.

In a broader sense Covid-19 lock downs have resulted in video conferencing being far more extensively used for recruitment. 

Particular aspects of discrimination to consider in recruitment include negative impressions of applicants who do not have access to videoconferencing technology;  who are unsure of how to use it; and/ or are viewed in a negative light based on things seen in a video conference.

Even though a video call may not feel like a traditional interview, applicable legislation (fines and penalties) will still apply under the Fair Work Act (2009), Disability Discrimination Act (1992), and/or Sex Discrimination Act (1994).

It’s not all bad

Online meetings can be a very convenient check-in tool with your staff and give and receive feedback. This helps keep your remote workforce connected, and ensures your team are all on the same page and aligned to their performance objectives.

Maintaining respect and privacy both in the office and at home will be important in this scenario, your staff won’t want to see family members being part of their appraisal and similarly ensuring confidentiality in the open plan office environment will be important if you have some staff working from home and some remotely.

Seven tips for action now

1. Conduct a thorough review and audit of risk management systems in place.

2. Review relevant policies to ensure discriminatory practices are eliminated.

3. Ensure requirements under the relevant privacy legislation are understood.

4. Review code of conduct to ensure it sets expectations for online meetings.

6. Train all staff in conducting appropriate video conferencing meetings and where applicable interviews or performance check-ins.

5. Source appropriate technology is sourced that fits your business requirements. 

7. Check in with the staff you have working remotely regularly, and consistently.

For further details of the changes please visit www.wcasolutions.com or contact WCA - People & Culture Solutions if you require any assistance in implementing these changes within your business on (08) 9383 3293 or admin@wcasolutions.com

AHRI article:

https://www.hrmonline.com.au/section/legal/unfair-dismissal-loud-rude-behaviour/

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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