Ways to Reinforce Inclusion in Remote Workforces
Whether working from home or as part of a mobile workforce, remote workers are becoming more commonplace and the changes to our working patterns during the pandemic have contributed to the growth in remote workforces.
Remote working offers many benefits from reduced costs for both employees not having travel expenses and employers reducing office costs as well as productivity efficiencies. But one area many employers may not have considered is how remote working can help drive their diversity and inclusion initiatives.
A wider more diverse talent pool
Removing the necessity of travelling to and working from a fixed physical location helps overcome the barriers of attracting diverse talent. Not being confined by geographical location or physical ability means employers can widen their net when searching for candidates.
Those who have a remote workforce can advertise their jobs across the UK or even around the world to help them attract the best talent and also a more diverse talent. Another consideration is workplace accessibility for those living with a physical disability, many office buildings, in particular older ones, may not be designed to cater for varying physical abilities.
But if employees are able to work from home, in an environment that already caters for their physical needs the talent available to companies increases.
An inclusive workforce doesn’t happen overnight, it requires a sustained drive and effort to ensure employees feel supported and a valued part of the company and are encouraged to make meaningful contributions. Add a remote workforce into the mix and this can become a more daunting challenge, but it needn’t be.
The shift in working from home in some ways has made us all more connected, but that does not guarantee greater inclusion at work and employers must lead by example to help drive inclusion across the workplace. This can be achieved by:
- Demonstrating vulnerability and empathy - team members should feel comfortable being open and vulnerable. They should feel they can share their feeling and should also support others to do the same.
- Asking about employees needs and respond with tailored actions - employees should be asked what they need to help overcome any challenges they are facing and employers should acknowledge and respond with tailored actions.
- Making space for diverse perspectives - diverse perspectives should be embraced and celebrated to enhance performance. Contributions at team meetings should be encouraged and facilitated.
- Allowing time for remote team building - if in-person interactions aren’t possible then employers should plan for remote ones. Employers should consider virtual interactions such as games, challenges or quizzes that require team working and ensure unfamiliar team members work together to help them feel a greater part of the organisation.