When companies originally started to work remotely due to COVID-19, many organizations were forced to transition their teams to an entirely new working model within a matter of days. As a result, certain business practices were put off to the side to be handled once things “returned to normal” and employees were back at the physical office.

However, after what has now been approximately a year of remote work for many organizations, it is important to adapt to this new way of working, particularly with many employers considering continued remote work or a blended work style, even post-pandemic.

Organizations must start looking deeper at processes and practices that take them beyond survival mode. Taking care of employees as they work remotely includes ensuring that the “workplace” is harassment-free.

Failure to address an employee complaint in a timely manner is not acceptable, and COVID-19 cannot be used as an excuse to ignore complaints and your associated obligations. Employers ensure they fulfill those obligations by developing and implementing remote workplace investigation processes that are safe and secure for all parties involved.

Here we outline what Cenera has done to adapt its investigation process and to help you understand what you can expect in the new age of remote workplace investigations, should you choose to use Cenera as a neutral third party to assist you with the matter at hand.

The Remote Workplace Investigation Process

First, Cenera signs a Confidentiality Agreement with the client organization, and all interviewees also commit to confidentiality and other behavioural expectations. The process includes one-to-one interviews with the parties and other individuals identified as having relevant information about the allegations.

The Investigator:

  • Conducts and documents the interviews,
  • Compiles and investigative report, and
  • Makes a determination based on documentary evidence and interview content.

In consideration of the current restrictions:

  • All interviews are conducted remotely – by Skype, ZOOM, Teams, FaceTime, or other. The investigation team is happy to assist any parties involved in setting these tools up.
  • Due to the importance of body language, video platforms take preference over phone calls. However, phone calls are used as a last resort.
  • Flexibility is required for document signing when investigating remotely. If an interviewee does not have access to a printer and/or scanner, the investigator sends the forms to the interviewee to have them reviewed, and the individual sends a response directly through email to indicate that they have done so.
  • Communication methods have shifted as well. Involved parties and the client are contacted by phone, email, and other remote methods.

Outcomes

After the investigation is complete, the client receives a report that includes a summary of evidence and the findings. The findings may show the complaint to be substantiated, unsubstantiated, or inconclusive. Some clients may wish to have additional observations and recommendations included as well.

Whether remote or in person, should you choose to use Cenera as a neutral third party to assist you with the matter at hand you can expect an investigation conducted with integrity, fairness, impartiality and respect.

To learn more about the remote workplace investigation process, please contact us today to book a complimentary consultation.

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