Business Briefs: Working Where You Want, Heating Up at USPS & Witnessing Workplace Harassment

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Welcome to Business Briefs! The world of academic publications features fascinating findings from real-world experiments in business and the marketplace. Here are some key takeaways and applicable nuggets of knowledge that may be helpful for your business.

Where Do You Want to Work?

Trite but true: The pandemic changed the face of the workplace. Lots of office workers shifted to remote work in 2020. But now that the pandemic is in a more manageable phase, office culture has been revived in a new, hybrid way. Employees might go into the office two or three days a week, and then work from home the rest of the time. 

How’s that going? Well, Gallup collected a lot of numbers, but the overall meaning is still a little foggy. 

Gallup polled 8,090 employees who were working remote at least occasionally. Of the employees…

  • Only 12% wanted to spend four to five days/week onsite
  • For the highest number of employees, two onsite days per week was the sweet spot
  • Mondays and Fridays are the least popular picks for onsite days
  • Employees who are not required to work in the office have the highest engagement and lowest burnout
  • 57% said their employer set the attendance rules. 

Read more here

Coordinating Hybrid Work Schedules – Jim Harter, Ben Wigert and Sangeeta Agrawal, Gallup Surveys

Some (Don’t) Like it Hot

Reducing workplace harassment and discrimination is undoubtedly a good thing. Most businesses attempt to do this through education, and indeed, ignorance contributes to a great deal of buffoonish behavior. 

But so does heat. It affects the office climate in more ways than one.

A recent study correlated workplace complaints with rising temperature. Researchers reviewed more than 800,000 Equal Employment Opportunity charges from U.S. Postal Service workers. In looking for trends, the researchers controlled several factors including everything from rain (precipitation) to overall numerical trends in numbers of complaints filed. When compared to days when the temperature stayed in the 60s, the analysis demonstrated a 5% increase in complaints on days when the temperature exceeded 90 degrees.

As a side note, the complaints generally cover all sorts of things, from retaliation to promotion practices. The most common topics of the charges were 1) Harassment, 2)Working Conditions and 3) Reasonable Accommodation, with the top three factors involved being sex, race and disability. 

Lessons learned? Maybe keep a cool head. 

Read more here

The Impact of Extreme Heat on Workplace Harassment and Discrimination – Ayushi Narayan, PNAS

Harassment, Part II

While we’re on the harassment subject, researchers in a 2022 study investigated the indirect effects of sexual harassment on witnesses. Leveraging data collected from questionnaires completed by 724 employees, they found that 321 reported witnessing workplace sexual harassment. 

In general, witnesses skewed younger in age than non-witnesses. In terms of numbers, 28% of women respondents indicated witnessing sexual harassment, where only 16% of men indicated the same. Across the board, witnesses were more likely to experience emotional and psychological consequences including exhaustion, disengagement and negative feelings. 

Read more here

Sexual Harassment in the Workplace: Consequences and Perceived Self-Efficacy in Women and Men Witnesses and Non-Witnesses – Daniela Acquadro Maran, Antonella Varetto and Cristina Civilotti, Behavioral Sciences