The new Behavox Enterprise Conduct and Risk Report has revealed alarming trends involving misconduct and illegal behavior that could result in disruptions to business continuity and revenue growth, particularly during this period of indefinite WFH.

Insider threats have been particularly prevalent during the pandemic, with employees taking advantage of the lax, unmonitored work environment to conduct intentional, malicious data theft. Approximately one in seven respondents (15%) said they knew of colleagues who had broken security policies while working from home. 

In the United States, the threat was pronounced. Almost four times (16%) more U.S participants than U.K and Canadian respondents, said they were aware of colleagues who had stolen proprietary information (confidential information or trade secrets). 

One in five (20%) U.S. respondents believe their company is subject to espionage from foreign governments.

In fact, half of these respondents said they were aware of arrests at their firms linked to competitors or foreign entities.

Illegal Misconduct

The Report has also discovered that respondents are experiencing shocking amounts of illegal behavior, raising concerns about the quality of risk management and security measures at enterprises in general. 

Certain infractions could be considered more inappropriate than illegal, such as the 7% of respondents who admit to hijacking their neighbor’s Wi-Fi connections while working from home. 

Respondents have also admitted witnessing colleagues engage in more serious illegal activity, such as purchasing illegal drugs using company devices and communication channels.

More than three times the number of U.S respondents (16%) than British and Canadians (5%) said their colleagues use work channels to buy illegal drugs during the WFH pandemic period.

Just as disturbing, when U.S. respondents were asked if they were confident that colleagues were watching pornography on work devices, 29% said they were, compared to just 14% of their British and Canadian counterparts.

Cases Too Serious to Ignore 

Another disturbing finding is that nearly one in five (18%) respondents from the United States were confident that colleagues view child pornography on company devices and communication channels. Fewer numbers of those surveyed from the United Kingdom and Canada (6%) believe their colleagues are doing so, but the lower percentage still equates to three out of 50 employees. 

Furthermore, nearly a quarter (22%) of U.S. respondents were confident they are working with pedophiles, compared to a still shockingly high 9% and 8% of workers in the United Kingdom and Canada, respectively.

The findings are alarming, to say the least.

Harmful Misconduct

Although colleagues are no longer working together in close proximity, cases of sexual harassment, racism, bullying, discrimination, misogyny, and other harmful behavior are also still prevalent. 

One of the most startling findings from the study was the prevalence of sexism in the workplace.

Shockingly, about one in 10 (9%) respondents said they were aware of colleagues keeping lists that rate employees for their physical appearance.

One out of 25 respondents said they experienced sexual harassment during the pandemic. 

Respondents also acknowledged witnessing incidents of racism (7%). These findings are even more disturbing considering the timing of the study, which was conducted during the Black Lives Matter resurgence. Whether subtle or overt, via a screen or face-to-face, racism and discrimation are problems that can no longer be swept under the rug.

In some cases, the frequency of harmful misconduct like racism or sexual harassment are the same as pre-pandemic times. In other instances, the rates are rising. Regardless, employees lack easy access to help when working from home. They cannot walk down the hall to a manager’s office, or the HR or Legal departments to file a complaint. They cannot confront bullies in person and demand them to stop.

The repercussions of having criminals working at a company, whether knowingly or not, can be catastrophic. They are using company devices, networks and systems, and engaging in illicit and inappropriate behavior on work time. The financial implications to the ensuing negative press coverage, brand reputational damage, and executive dismissals, can surpass that of even the most expensive corporate fine.

Such misconduct also impacts employee productivity, and puts business continuity and revenue growth at risk.

  • Download the Virtual Misconduct, Real Harm infographic here.
  • Download the full Enterprise Conduct and Risk Report here.
  • Learn more about how Behavox Conduct can help protect your organisation from a company-ending crisis by watching the below video.