During the past year, a large portion of the national workforce found themselves working from home. Employers had to figure out how to keep employees on task outside of the office, and employees found new freedom from their bosses’ constant watch. As a result, the Securities and Exchange Commission received 31% more tips regarding white-collar crime.
According to Bloomberg, the SEC received 6,900 tips during the fiscal year ending September 30, 2020, compared to 5,300 in fiscal year 2018. So, why are employees more likely to report white-collar crimes when working from home?
Away from the boss’ watchful eye
Most experts agree that workers who are not under constant observation by their bosses are more likely to call in a tip of financial fraud than those who are working in person. When they’re away from constant scrutiny, employees feel more freedom to let the authorities know that they suspect someone has committed a white-collar crime.
Increased awards for whistle-blowing
Even before the pandemic forced workers into their home offices, the SEC had increased payouts to those who reported crimes. Since the beginning of lockdown, the agency has awarded over $330 million to those willing to blow the whistle on their employers.
Whether more people reported white-collar crimes due to being out of the office or more companies felt the pressure of a quickly shrinking economy and thus committed more white-collar malfeasance is unclear. However, the increase in tips shows that the pandemic may have a long-lasting impact on both employees and employers.