Fostering Diversity and Inclusion in the Remote Work Era

Time to Read: 4.4 minutes

Updated: November 16, 2022

Remote working is appreciated nowadays because it improves productivity and autonomy, generating a better work/life balance for all the team members. Plus, it has offered a level playing field for employees from different backgrounds to enrich the organization’s culture with fresh ideas while elevating employee satisfaction. Stripped away the factors that sometimes cloud the judgment of individuals in an organization.

The communication shift has offered an equal medium of expression for everyone that led even an introvert to open up. Or, maybe the minorities, facing a higher unemployment ratio, would feel more sense of security during remote work. Further, people with family responsibilities or disabilities would be benefited from remote/flexible work options. However, that does not reject the benefits of socializing at physical workspaces, accessing high-end internet connectivity or infrastructure, a culture of empathy, and work-life balance.

Today, companies are shifting their workforce orientation towards a hybrid work culture, but have also begun framing themselves a significant question: Can remote work be a major step towards creating inclusive work environments?

Naturally, remote work can nurture working teams to positively impact a business gathering awareness, sensitivity, and collaboration to enrich the working environment and structure positively.

Companies have opened up their recruitment process to a global candidate pool. Amid the scenario when remote work is everywhere, two-thirds of knowledge workers believe that by 2030, offices will become obsolete. Therefore it is high time to redefine the connection and equation between the two.

How Remote Work Promotes Diversity and Inclusion?

Addressing Gender and Generational Issues

A study by McKinsey says that women are 1.3 times more likely than men to consider leaving their job in the past two years. Unfair social expectations for women as primary caretakers, handling children’s remote schooling, and other family responsibilities have started picking up the female turnover rate. The scenario is similar for working parents and baby boomers as they find it difficult to maintain their work demand balance with personal needs.

However, a study hints that women (50%), more than men (37%), are more likely to stay productive during work from home. Additionally, 52% of baby boomers find home the most productive than 38% of millennials. Business leaders aware of these struggles have facilitated flexible work arrangements, reduced work hours, or compressed workweeks to let this major chunk of the workforce stay healthy, productive, and included.

Equal Talent Access Regardless of Location

One out of every four workers believes that commuting is among the most stressful part of their job. Particularly, 80% of workers with disabilities want this perk offered by the employer. Indicating inclusion, another study hints that 71% of employees feel more connected than before the pandemic, and this connection is much more than just technology. Many forward-looking companies have on-boarded employees from all corners of the world, with no physical workstations to speak of.

Freeing the Employees from Schedule-Based Functioning

Forget the specialist for a moment and ask anyone who sneaks out often at a café with his laptop, the aroma of coffee and running his favorite music playlist in the backdrop. This sense of freedom empowers collaborators to think outside the box, break the monotony of regular thought patterns and bring out their creative and innovative perspectives. Particularly, people employed as knowledge professionals, writers, editors, or designers can relate more to this.

How to Foster Diversity Through Remote Work?

A Global Talent Pool at Your Doorstep

Employees from different nationalities and different backgrounds will bring independent perspectives and make an organization culturally rich. It will better prepare a business to function across diversified social and cultural lines. Now, when millions of people are out for work, they will be attracted to the jobs in such a place where previously they would not have gotten to. As per a study, the financial performance of a company is increased up to 35 percent with a more ethnically diverse workforce.

As for Social Media recruiting, Facebook is fostering diversity and inclusion by enabling non-discrimination policies across their paid ads. Employment ads need to be classified under a Special Ad Category in order to be approved and shown to Facebook’s audience.

Opening Up Communication Channels

Remote work, especially when it is happening on the same schedule, leans heavily on written communication. Meaning there are no chances of getting this interrupted, at least not in the traditional sense. Yes, remote communication creates a struggling environment for executing group tasks but with collaborative technology, this issue can be addressed.

However, the issues like availability, working hours, conflict handling procedures, and goal measurement meetings, are to be cleared and made transparent to maintain a flexible work culture, team spirit and evaluate output.

Focusing on the Work, Not the Differences

Remote working doesn’t let you get tied to individual differences. Instead, work itself is the primary thing to focus on to assess the cultural suitability of employees. This approach levels the playing field by eliminating the notion of popularity or dissimilarity and frequent desk visits. Meanwhile, the same is true for the remote hiring process too.

By now, companies have adequately practiced work from home and learned many things from this new business model for surviving first and thriving next. Truly, these refined work models are sustainable and nowhere going to change anytime soon.

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Minakshi Sehrawat

Minakshi Sehrawat is a content writer that specializes in the HR industry. For the past 12+ years, she has worked with companies, social organizations, and newspapers offering writing services and solutions. Her strength is writing long-form content about HR, recruitment, management practices, technology, communities, and events.

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