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

Publication type: Survey

Attitudes of the British Public to Business Ethics 2021

Britain’s businesses could behave better - the 2021 results of the IBE's annual survey of the attitudes of the British public to business ethics.

17 January 2022

Blog

Employees’ voices: a glass half full

The results of our latest Ethics at Work survey bring us some good news, but also some red flags that cannot be ignored as organisations shape their ethical agenda for the future.

08 December 2021

Blog

The right question

Read the latest blog by Mark Chambers, IBE's Associate Director (Governance).

10 November 2021

IBE news

Institute of Business Ethics research suggests companies need to do more to embed ethical behaviour

04 November 2021

Blog

Every crisis is an opportunity

Read our latest guest blog by Sally March, Jane Mitchell, Robert Smith and Ruth Steinholtz.

13 October 2021

Blog

Organisational Glue

Read the latest blog by Mark Chambers, IBE's Associate Director (Governance).

28 July 2021

Blog

Attitudes. Ethics. Trust.

In this blog, Guendalina Donde, IBE's Head of Research, discusses the results of the 2020 Attitudes of the British Public to Business Ethics survey.

13 January 2021

Publication type: Survey

Attitudes of the British Public to Business Ethics 2020

The 2020 results of the IBE's annual survey of the attitudes of the British public to business ethics.

30 December 2020

Blog

The Lessons of 2020

To end 2020, IBE's Director, Ian Peters, reflects on the lessons learnt and looks ahead to 2021.

23 December 2020

Publication type: Business ethics briefing

Business Ethics in the News 2020

This briefing provides an overview of the ethical concerns and lapses that were recorded by the IBE in its monitoring of media coverage in 2020.

23 December 2020

Webinar

Pandemic, People, Ethics: The other PPE

View the recording of our webinar.

10 December 2020

Webinar

Hugh Kay Lecture: Standards in Public Life - Are we in a Post-Nolan age?

View the recording of our webinar.

12 November 2020

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 2018: 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

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