Ensuring psychological safety in virtual working

Click. Click. Have you just paid someone up to $200,000 for taking their photo?

As harsh a reality as it is, this is the price a person can expect to pay if sharing information or images online about others without permission. 

But what of the price paid by the person in the photo or who the information is about. 

The price can run far deeper than a click to upload an image. 

I’ve found that even though social media is a fantastic tool for keeping into touch with family, friends and sharing the message of my work, there are limits to what myself, colleagues and extended team will share. It comes down to a sense of privacy that we like to have in our lives. 

What if this privacy is breached without us knowing? Subsequently discovering images, content or comments of ourselves online that we never placed there. 

 

The price that runs deeper is this…

Social content via the internet enters our homes, bringing issues right to our wide-open door. It enters our minds and emotions when we are having some downtime, only to see a comment or post that hits our core and shifts our state of balance so drastically that we feel like someone has treated us this way face to face. 

We can’t run from it, we can’t walk away, we can’t talk back and we can’t hide the notification when a ‘like’ on it has occurred. 

It enters our being.  

The education and leadership environment has made some dramatic shifts with Covid-19. Remote working, online group meetings and classes are something we are figuring-out as we go. But I ask leaders out there to consider, does this allow for different actions or behaviours to take place online as opposed to offline?  

As leaders, expanding our understanding of what actions take place online, may need to be flipped and asked of our team “would we do this face to face to each other”? “Are we willing to create a digital footprint of ourselves and others in this way”?

A digital footprint is there forever. It is every click, site visited, image loaded and google search taken. Even if the original is deleted, then the shared version and the bots in the background of your computer and Google still hold data. 

 

How to protect your team while online. 

A group effort is needed with individual responsibility. 

  • Keep everything private. EVERYTHING.
  • Make sure your organisation or school has an online and meetings code of conduct. 
  • During the housekeeping at the beginning of the meeting remind members of the code of conduct and privacy.
  • If a breach of privacy was to occur, take action immediately. If left too long then it falls to the background and opens the door for other instances to take place.
  • If you see a breach of privacy, bring it to the attention of team leaders. Again, don’t let it slide to the background. 
  • Follow up with both parties privately. Make sure that people are okay, offer support, and remind them that a breach in privacy has occurred. 

 

Further support

Netsafe, New Zealand’s leading organisation on online safety, offers guidance on how to move through these occurrences. 

 

This week I ask you to consider

How do my or my team’s actions affect others online? And as their leader, what steps do I take to ensure that a working code of conduct is in place?

Like a lot of my clients, you might be wondering how to keep your learning initiatives going in these disruptive times. I’m in the thick of creative planning with many clients about how we can help their people to thrive, and we’re coming up with some super-cool solutions. I am also still coaching and mentoring, and holding professional learning sessions virtually. If you’d like to chat about what’s possible, drop me a line.

MA :)

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