A few months ago, no one could have imagined the scale and speed at which many parts of the world would transition to fully remote workplaces. Fast forward to now, where we have tech giants like Twitter and Square planning to keep work-from-home options in place ‘forever’, and it’s clear just how quickly businesses have shifted their attitudes towards remote work. Global Workplace Analytics predicts that the longer people are sheltering-in-place, the more likely it is that we’ll see an increase in work-from-home arrangements post-pandemic.
All of this begs the question: how do your diversity and inclusion practices fit into a long-term, remote work model?
As an agency that’s been fully remote for over a decade, we understand the unique factors involved when it comes to building a strong company culture and D&I practices. The good news is that diversity and inclusion doesn’t just exist in remote workplaces, it can thrive, too.
“Come One, Come All” approach
By now, we should all know that workplace diversity is a lot more than just checking boxes. Making ‘diversity hires’ for the wrong reasons isn’t only superficial, but it’s damaging to real progress for change at your workplace. We know that factors such as gender, accessibility and race can prevent access to higher-paying, relevant roles for many people applying to typical office jobs. But with a search for remote talent, these obstacles can be greatly reduced and even eliminated. That creates a huge opportunity to find and engage with a much broader and diverse pool of candidates. It’s like saying “come one, come all” to the best talent in your state, country or region. What business wouldn’t say yes to that?!
Developing a D&I program isn’t about filling a diversity quota for your company – it’s about providing greater access to valuable opportunities for groups that are often underrepresented in the workforce. In a remote workplace, where employees could be scattered throughout a country or even the world, the company benefits from the diversity that comes from lived experiences. In addition to identity markers like gender or race, these experiences might come from different socioeconomic backgrounds, or the current state of affairs in their particular region.
Developing a D&I program isn’t about filling a diversity quota for your company - it’s about providing greater access to valuable opportunities for groups that are often underrepresented in the workforce. Click To Tweet
Not only does this knowledge help to improve company processes, but it gives everyone the chance to understand particular demographics better, and address challenges in new and innovative ways. While it’s true that multinational corporations may already benefit from this type of diversity, remote workplaces of all sizes can benefit from this too. We’re the perfect example: as a growing business, remote working has given Social Tribe the chance to hire from across the country to create a unique and talented team of individuals.
Everyone’s Welcome Here!
Of course, a wider hiring pool doesn’t guarantee a diverse workforce. The search for talent, whether you’re a remote workplace or not, requires a solid activation plan to help put your D&I-related goals into action. With that in place, you’ll be well-positioned to build a team with diverse thoughts, ideas and values. This contributes to a more dynamic workplace, where members of the team aren’t restricted by geography or similar factors, and each bring unique perspectives and value to the company.
With a diverse range of employees and ideas, the question remains: how do you make everyone feel included? Fortunately, the inherent flexibility of a remote work culture means that certain limitations are no longer obstacles. In other words, with the right plan in place, everyone can be made to feel welcome in a remote workplace. This in itself is why many people consider remote working to be an important part of a company’s D&I strategy. For employees with particular disabilities, for example, the elimination of a physical office alone makes working in higher-paying jobs more accessible. Here are some other ways a remote workplace sets everyone up for success:
- Reduces burnout by giving employees the chance to create a better work/life balance, with the flexibility to organize their ‘office’ and family time.
- Eliminates moving-related stress by allowing employees to stay within their community and support system, while also giving employees more flexibility to move and travel while working if they wish.
- Brings higher paying, skilled jobs to people living outside of major cities.
Leveraging the flexibility that remote work environments offer, forward-looking companies are embracing new and better ways to make sure their remote team feels welcome, understood and appreciated. Given current events, this has never been more important. For example, at Social Tribe we’ve offered everyone an extra “self-care day” each month to give our team some extra time to rest, recuperate, and take time for themselves in this hectic period. Normalizing conversations around mental health, self care and work-related stress are all important steps to making employees feel included and happy within their roles.
We’re not alone in these pandemic-era changes to promote better inclusion, either. Practices put into place now can impact the way businesses think about inclusivity in the long run. In fact, the rise of remote working has led to a large majority of D&I leaders sharing that they’re now more understanding of their employees’ personal needs and situations. This might mean giving working parents additional flexibility to take care of their children, or giving employees time to attend medical appointments during the day. With remote work, the typical 9 to 5 work day is thrown out of the window to make way for an environment where employees are empowered to meet the expectations of their job, all while feeling supported in their personal lives, too.
With remote work, the typical 9 to 5 work day is thrown out of the window to make way for an environment where employees are empowered to meet the expectations of their job, all while feeling supported in their personal lives, too. Click To Tweet
The lessons that many companies are learning now are a sign that remote work is here to stay. Creating a culture where the entire team is made to feel welcome is no easy feat, but one that can definitely be achieved and even improved upon when your employees are working from home.
Onwards and Upwards
So there you have it: some great reasons why remote work doesn’t signal the end of company culture, or your D&I practices.. As businesses look ahead, understanding how to leverage remote work benefits is a huge opportunity to create a diverse and inclusive workplace.
Curious to know more about what D&I might look like for remote companies post-pandemic? We’re happy to share a few more insights of our own. After all, working from home has been our bread and butter since day one!