Digital Ethics In The Workplace

Workplace ethics are the set of principles or morals that guide the behaviours and interactions in an organisation. Every workplace is guided by different standards that have to be followed by employees and employers alike.

Every company’s culture must align with the ethics that they claim to abide by. The ethics and culture are also up to managers to execute and for the staff body to comply in a safe, comfortable, and non-toxic work environment.

Since the pandemic, there has been a shift in many spheres, especially in the corporate and educational sectors, where many organisations discovered a significant need to go digital in order to keep society moving. Organisations had to go remote and, while enjoying the perks of automated operations, realised that the data yielded by the adoption of digitalisation and new-age technologies had to be monitored and managed somehow.

The ethical dilemmas many companies have faced in this time have caused them to take a peek into the ethics steering the digital ecosystem in order to educate and equip themselves for the future. Digital ethics, as defined by Wikipedia, is the branch of ethics that focuses on the relationship between the creation, organisation, dissemination, usage of information, and the ethical standards and moral codes governing human conduct in society.

Digital ethics determine how people should behave on digital platforms. For the administrators at the backend of these platforms, digital ethics impact the way data gotten from users/donors is disseminated, stored, and used.

There are such standards in the workplace, too. Workplace digital ethics refer to the ethics guiding the usage, storage, and sharing of data and other available technologies in the workplace. Companies with digitalised operations have data that need to be handled with the utmost care.

From sales to customer relationships, procurement, and vendor management, enterprise software and other digital solutions have made working seamlessly, efficiently, and even remotely possible. AI, cloud infrastructure, integrated systems and other robust technologies have given workers unparalleled flexibility to carry out their tasks. Having experienced such work conditions, employees’ standards and expectations have increased. Staff members have realised that working conditions can be more flexible and expect the employers to consider this as the world returns to normal.

There are many upsides to remote working, as it is the future of work, but it also means a heavy reliance on technologies and integrated systems to carry out business as usual. Digital ethics have become a trend, as organisations must tie all ethical loose ends so their digital structures can work as expected.

Dilemmas Of Technology And Ethics

There are many problems that incorporating technology can pose in the workplace. Let’s delve into them:

  • Privacy
    With data, one of the most common dilemmas administrators face is the matter of privacy. It is even more so, a concern for users asking, ‘who has the right to access/access to what?’ The ease at which companies can view employees’ activities on company devices/systems may blur the lines on privacy infringement.Unclear policies about the use of the internet, computers, and other digital tools leave employees at the mercy of employers. Employers sometimes take liberties to look into the frequency and content of employees’ personal communications to see if their workers are truly working or colluding or gossiping.

    Also, even after being brought up to speed on the privacy policies, human beings will still be human beings. We are prone to slip-ups, and having to use the same computer for hours on end can make a person unable to differentiate between personal and professional uses, especially on the work-from-home front. Employees like to make their computers feel ‘like home’ and might find themselves logging into their social media accounts or viewing a few YouTube videos to let off steam – an error on their part.

  • Work Hours
    Without going into the office to a desk where you sit for eight hours straight, it can be hard for both managers and employees to know when to call it a day. Some employers see this as an avenue to overwork their employees and make work demands long after or before work hours. Employees also begin to form unhealthy work habits. While people can work as they please outside of work hours, what happens when a staff’s employment is hanging on the line because they are unable/refuse to work without ceasing?These reasons are why the onboarding of digital tools can be a source of worry to employees, as to them, it means that they would have to bid farewell to their privacy while accepting that work would encroach into their personal time. There are also concerns that a digitalised mode of work could put employees at risk of being bullied and harassed, expose them to a barrage of notifications at ungodly hours, and isolate them in a way that negatively impacts their mental health.

    Some of these problems could also surface because a solution is not meeting the needs of the enterprise. This bad implementation of ill-fitting enterprise solutions affects the workforce, including reduced productivity. If one of the KPIs of good digital solutions is improved user experience, which leads to enhanced employee productivity, why will an enterprise onboard a detrimental solution to their business? What could be the cause?

    • An inadequate solution that does not fully factor in your organisational needs.
    • A solution that has a bad look and is difficult to navigate or a non-responsive solution that does not solve your problem and gives users a bad experience.
    • Poor communication of your values and what you hope to accomplish by launching an enterprise software.
    • Poor training of the employees on how to operate the software.

    Working with Hidden Brains eliminates all of these problems. When you partner with us, we create bespoke solutions that match your organisational needs. Our solutions are meticulously tailored to your business and are deployed long after our consultants have gathered all your requirements and conducted a user acceptance test to ensure that our clients’ needs have been met.

Steps To Mitigate The Problems Of Technology And Ethics

Having looked at the issues that digitalisation can face, let us look at ways we can curb them:

  • Prioritise Data Protection
    Your systems should have security measures like encryptions and authentications to protect your system from internal or external threats that put your data at risk.
  • Take Advantage of Other Useful Technologies
    There are AI technologies created by cybersecurity experts that exist solely for threat detection. In addition, machine learning and other new technologies can help fortify your systems from cyber threats.
  • Train and Retrain
    Ensure that your employees are adequately trained on how to use the systems. Engage the services of your software providers/IT consultants to carry out in-depth training to this effect.Also, keep your employees abreast of the potential threats to the system, and update them on any changes in the behaviours or malware that could lead to a security breach.
  • Clarify your Privacy Policies
    Be open about what parts of the system you are monitoring and the usage of donors’ or customers’ data. Also, ensure that your usage of data is ethical and would not hurt clients, employees or the company in any way. Finally, create a space where your clients or employees feel safe volunteering their data in order to get a better experience in return.
  • Communicate your Values
    Letting your employees know the goal you seek to achieve by going digital can help align their thinking. This also involves letting your employees communicate right back. Listen to their feedback and learn how the solution affects their work negatively and positively. Create safe channels for employees to communicate freely.
  • Re-evaluate your Solution
    Evaluate your system to see if it meets all the expected or promised KPIs. Going digital is not just about automating your business; your system must reflect your values, and an enterprise solution that is unable to do this should be discarded or revamped.

In addition, not all features, updates, and trends will be befitting for your company’s operations, so your solutions partner must have your best interests at heart to give you the right advice.

Overall, going digital still beats the analogue way of doing things. All that is required is finding a partner like us who considers your needs, values and culture before proffering fitting, cutting-edge digital solutions that help your company achieve its goals.

Our consultants cannot wait to hear from you. Reach out to Hidden Brains at [email protected] or +2348141261421.

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