What is the ethical issue?

As technology has grown and methods of communication have developed, the ability to work remotely has emerged to positively impact organisations, but raise questions regarding its effects on individuals.

Although the flexibility and mobility of working has improved, achieving both a balance and separation between work and home has become harder. In the IBE’s 2018 survey of the British public, 23% highlighted work-home balance as an issue that employers need to address, behind only tax avoidance, executive pay and environmental responsibility.

If an organisation does not effectively establish a culture which encourages a good balance between professional and personal life it can have wider ramifications on employee wellbeing and company performance. Flexible working arrangements are growing in business, and many full-time employees consider the option to use mobile technology away from work an advantage, yet companies need to recognise their duty of care and show caution to how this may cause stress for employees and negatively impact their personal lives.

Contrastingly, organisations also risk creating a disengaged workforce if they fail to take employees’ personal circumstances into account in a manner which is fair. Disengaged employees often become so after experiencing stress caused by their employers, and thus proceed to actively work against the aims of the organisation.

 

IBE Guidance

A summary of good practice
  • With the ability to work flexibly becoming more accessible and sophisticated, organisations are better placed to embrace the personal circumstances of employees and develop strategies which maintain a happy and engaged workforce. Understanding the optimal working environment for employees and encouraging a positive work-home balance can have a strong impact on company performance.
  • Employers may opt for more tangible policies to ensure this balance, such as restricting emails outside of working hours, or allowing differing working hours for different employees depending on personal circumstances. Yet broadly, organisations should adopt a strategy which creates a culture where the professional and personal do not work against each other and workplace wellbeing is a priority, thus building an engaged workforce who achieve results without sacrifices in their personal lives.

 

Further resources

Blog

Doing business ethically in a time of coronavirus

Our Chair, Prof. David Grayson CBE discusses doing business ethically in a time of coronavirus in the latest IBE blog.

06 April 2020

Blog

Now is the right time to look at your culture

Ethical failures in business continue to happen with depressing regularity. Unfortunately, many organisations are only spurred to look at their culture and take the steps to embed ethical values at the heart of their decision making after things have gone badly wrong and customers, shareholders and colleagues have suffered as a result. 

05 February 2020

Publication type: Business ethics briefing

Business Ethics in the News 2019

This briefing provides an overview of the ethical concerns and lapses that were recorded by the IBE in its monitoring of media coverage in 2019. It gives an overview of which sectors and issues related to business ethics were most covered in the news. For 2019, we have recorded a total of 361 different stories involving lapses of companies with a UK presence.

29 January 2020

Publication type: Survey

Ethics at Work 2018: Germany

This survey report describes the German findings of our 2018 Ethics at Work research and provides comparison with the European average from the eight countries surveyed.

10 December 2019

Publication type: Survey

Ethics at Work 2018: Italy

This survey report describes the Italian findings of our 2018 Ethics at Work research and provides comparison with the European average from the eight countries surveyed.

10 December 2019

Publication type: Survey

Ethics at Work: Singapore

This survey report describes the Singapore findings of our 2018 Ethics at Work research and provides comparison with Switzerland and the UK.

23 September 2019

Publication type: Survey

Ethics at Work 2018: Canada

This survey report describes the Canadian findings of our 2018 Ethics at Work research and provides comparison with Switzerland and the UK.

26 June 2019

Blog

Changing attitudes to business - why millennials matter

Millennials have been a recurring theme in recent surveys on business ethics issues and they continue to have an impact on the business ethics agenda.

19 June 2019

Publication type: Survey

Ethics at Work 2018: Switzerland

This survey report describes the Swiss findings of our 2018 Ethics at Work research and provides comparison with the European average.

23 May 2019

Blog

Ethics and values are at the heart of a sustainable culture

David Grayson: I am delighted to take on the chairmanship of IBE. Ethics and values are at the heart of creating a sustainable culture.

02 April 2019

Publication type: Other

A Year In Review: Ethical Concerns and Lapses 2018

Read the IBE's annual analysis of business ethics news stories from the last year - which were the sectors and issues most in the news in 2018?

30 January 2019

Publication type: Survey

Ethics at Work 2018: New Zealand

This survey report describes the New Zealand findings of our 2018 Ethics at Work research.

28 November 2018

Publication type: Survey

Ethics at Work 2018: Australia, New Zealand and United Kingdom

This survey report describes the Australia and New Zealand findings of our 2018 Ethics at Work research and compares them with the findings from the UK.

27 November 2018

Publication type: Survey

Ethics at Work 2018: Australia

This survey report describes the Australian findings of our 2018 Ethics at Work research.

27 November 2018

Publication type: Survey

Ethics at Work 2018: Portugal

This survey report describes the Portugese findings of our 2018 Ethics at Work research and provides comparison with the European average from the eight countries surveyed.

19 November 2018

Webinar

What do UK employees think about ethics at work?

16 October 2018

Publication type: Survey

Ethics at Work 2018: United Kingdom

This survey report describes the UK findings of our 2018 Ethics at Work research and provides comparison with the European average from the eight countries surveyed.

13 September 2018

Publication type: Survey

Ethics at Work: 2018 Survey of Employees: Europe

Ethics at Work: 2018 survey of employees analyses the results of the survey and examines whether formal ethics programmes are effective in embedding ethical values into organisational culture and influencing behaviour.

05 July 2018

Blog

Ethics is everybody's business

How can you support large numbers of employees in multiple locations in doing the right thing? One approach is to spread a network of ethics ambassadors throughout the business – it is an excellent way to ensure that messages about ethics and conduct are communicated effectively, consistently and meaningfully to staff in multiple territories.

18 April 2018

Publication type: Survey

Corporate Ethics Policies and Programmes: 2016 UK and Continental Europe survey

This triennial survey provides an overview of how ethics is embedded within large organisations that operate in the UK and Continental Europe.

26 January 2017

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