Recent studies have indicated an increasing incidence of unwanted sexual advances at work.
It all started off with an accidental brush of the shoulders proceeded to lurid jokes and finally to a brazen offer of spending some time together. S didn’t react at first and tried to pass it off as playful ribbing by a senior male colleague – she loved the job and didn’t want to lose the income. But when things crossed a reasonable point, she decided to take some action and complained to her supervisor. Thankfully, he was supportive and the colleague learnt the much needed lesson.
Such instances are becoming quite common these days. A recent study revealed that 69 percent women are victims of sexual harassment at workplace. Commenting on the phenomenon a Director, says, such cases have become multifold in the last few years. It may be because of factors like an increasing number of women employees, lower average age group of employees and long work hours.
Here are some simple tips of coping with such advances:
No Leeway: Such instances almost always start with a small discretion. The colleague may crack an explicit joke or may try touching you accidentally make it clear that you don’t like such things, the very first time itself.
Speak up: Problems grow when women choose to keep mum. If some one is making you uncomfortable, tell your supervisors about it or approach the HR. Ensure that appropriate action is taken.
Be confident: Self Confidence is a virtue that all women need to develop. When you are confident and comfortable about yourself, no one will act smart with you. Elaborating on the issue, Head (Corporate Communications) at Percept Limited says. A lot depends on the signals you send out not just in the workplace but even outside. If you are strong and thoroughly professional no one will try taking undue advantage.
Behave Well: behavior accounts for a lot at the workplace and it can make or break your reputation. Psychologists advise women must not get over friendly with colleagues before learning more about them: Sometimes in a bid to impress one may get too friendly and send out the wrong cues.
Similarly, clothes are an important element of work culture and women should always dress appropriately to work, lest people get the wrong impression.
Grapevine Talks: Every office has the proverbial grapevine which may prove to be a useful source of, information about employees. If many people complain about someone demonstrating lecherous tendencies, it’s best to void that person. If you can’t help interacting with the person, stick to professional talks.
Going home alone:
Due to long work hours, one may find oneself having to go home alone at a late hour. At such times it’s best to either hire a cab or accompany a fellow female colleague. The idea is to avoid being in situations where sexual overtures may take place.
Party Etiquette: Office parties have become a regular feature in today’s job scene. They allow colleagues to interact at a personal level and network with one another. However, it is important to maintain sound social etiquette at such parties. Parties are an occasion to let down one’s hair and enjoy with colleagues. But the enjoyment should be monitored lest it lead to an unsavory situation or ruins ones reputation.
Today, we live with many social evils. However, sexual harassment at the workplace should not be considered one of them. HR practices in India are working towards addressing such grievances. However ensuring a balanced sex ratio at work would also help the situation.
Ultimately how others treat you is a measure of how you allow them to treat you. If you are firm from the beginning and maintain appropriate workplace decorum chances of falling prey to unhealthy advances by members of the opposite sex are automatically reduced to a great extent.
Behavior accounts for a lot at the work place and it can a make or break your reputation. To avoid any such experience speak up at the first instance of harassment. Also have confidence in yourself.