The new normal work culture brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered the need for a new policy for prevention of sexual harassment at 'digital' workspaces, a report said.
According to the report, while India has been proactively working to address issues related to data privacy, client confidentiality and adapting to collaborative tools to support remote working, the policies for Prevention of Sexual Harassment (POSH) for these 'digital' workplaces have not been worked upon.
"With the boundaries of workplace blurring and an increasing number of organisations engaging with contract or gig workers, it is pertinent for the organisations to realign their POSH policy to ensure prevention as well as swift action," said Samir Paranjpe, Partner and Forensics Leader at Grant Thornton Bharat.
The report assumes significance since a large urban working population, approximately three million, is currently working from home.
"It is expected that the demand for remote work will increase by up to 30 per cent by 2030. While employees may be at home, they continue to operate in a 'workplace'," the report said.
The report cautioned that employers must realise this extension and ensure the workplace remains safe and free of harassment.
The report also recommended that companies need to relook at their POSH policy to include both men and women, as it needs to become anti-discriminatory and gender-neutral for an inclusive outlook.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the meaning of 'workplace' for most organisations.
"Today, an employee's home, or any place other than office, including client office, restaurant etc., is where an official business is transacted and operated from," the report noted.
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